Twelfth Night

By William Shakespeare
Directed by Gemma Bodinetz
Liverpool Everyman
8th March - 5th April 2014

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

In the highly impressive setting of the newly rebuilt Liverpool Everyman, it started its new life with an exhilarating adaptation of Twelfth Night, produced by its artistic director Gemma Bodinetz.

I feel strongly that the Everyman should have begun its reincarnation with a production penned by a living Liverpool playwright such as Frank Cottrell Boyce (Rainhill, his birthplace, is not that far from the city!), but that was not to be.

Anyhow, this three hour production went by in a flash, such was the comedy elements incorporated into it, together with the top-notch acting of the ensemble cast.

It included Nicholas Woodeson as Malvolio, who began life as an actor at the Everyman forty years ago. It's unfair to pick out notable performers but Matthew Kelly (Sir Toby Belch) and Paul Duckworth (The Fool-like Feste) resembled a top notch comedy duo.

At times it almost resembled a pantomime, which was a good thing. It included a fair amount of audience participation which helped make it seem the case.

The play knocks spots off the pretensions people have about themselves and those they know. In essence people lose their sense of who they are, or think they are, which is refreshing. You sometimes wonder about people you know, how can they live life every day pretending to be something they are not....

Twelfth Night reflects a lot upon disguises - which is why it is apt to have a large mirror as one of the props.

One slight gripe - I was seated on the back row - was the inability of myself and others around me to be able to see fully, what was described as " a visual coup" (praise is due to designer Laura Hopkins), which led to the introduction of the shipwrecked Viola (played by the outstanding Jodie McNee) out of a section of water situated at the front of the stage.

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