Twelfth Night

Wed 25th – Thu 26th April 2012


Gaby Oliva

at 11:21 on 26th Apr 2012



UWE's drama society brought refreshing humour to this comedy, though the performance lacked in direction and a vivaciousness of cast.

Upon entering the Bierkeller theatre, Feste (Alexander Walls) - the play's jester - charmed and teased us until we were merrily transported into the world of Twelfth Night. Adding a decent atmosphere, Orsino (Patrick McHugh) was already on stage with his acoustic guitar, ready to deliver the first line, 'If music be the food of love, play on'. McHugh gave a true, pleasant portrayal of the lovesick romantic.

The subsequent scene started with a lively surprise, as Viola (Lucy Peyre) was revealed to have been hiding among the sea wreck props for the whole prelude. However, the scene became disappointing as the sea sound effects drowned out Peyre's words, resulting in an unhearable scene. Although the dark floors proved perfect for the setting of a ship wreck, its gothic potential as a theme was never established as it was never availed.

Sir Toby and Sir Andrew (Som English and Rupert Bathursy) were an amusing pair, true to life in their drunken antics and definitely drew out many giggles from the audience as they swayed and slurred through their scenes. They were especially comic as they hid behind flower vases, chair legs and even their own hands. They brought good variation to the play; Bathursy's dramatic miming to the reading of the letter was truly comical and a nice touch. The sword struggling also made for good slapstick parody, although Bathursy did break character as he was unable to contain his own laughter.

Olivia (Mel Pedler) acted her infatuation towards Viola/Sebastian perfectly as she heart achingly attempted to shuffle closer and closer. However, overall it was a painfully shy performance for a main role, as she was constantly fidgeting with her dress and avoiding both giving eye contact and facing the audience. Her projection was also annoying as it lacked the ability to convey passion at times and felt as if she was simply going through the motions. Another tedious speaker was Maha H-Jack, who rushed though her lines - but in spite of this H-Jack still achieved a buzz around her character.

Initially the staging looked promising, with good use of lighting - but then all attempts seemed to filter away; set changes were executed awkwardly in the dark and the actors spent much time at the back of the stage away from the audience, hiding, but as a result excluding the audience. However, the character of Feste was employed well, as he delivered an entertaining invitation to leave for the intermission by asking us to kill the time by 'evacuating our bowels'. Walls brought great charisma as he danced, sung and gave cheeky kisses that drew a guffaw from us all.

The rest of the cast acted well; Adam Dingley was entertaining as Malvolio, especially with his costume of bright yellow socks and Rudolf The Red Nose reindeer slippers.

All in all this performance was full of comic moments - such as babbling priests being escorted away - but still left much room for improvement.



James Bonser; 13th Jun 2012; 13:33:47

Couldn't agree less. I found the production to be a delight! Aside from it being one of my favourite Shakespeare plays, I enjoyed the atmosphere the group created and thought that on the whole it was a fun, well-balanced interpretation of an oft-maligned play. A thoroughly enjoyable evening! (4 stars)

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