‘Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ‘em’.
Shipwrecked Viola, disguised as a boy, enlists in Duke Orsino’s service and falls in love with him. But Orsino is besotted with the haughty Olivia – who wants nothing to do with him. Orsino sends Viola to woo Olivia on his behalf, only for Olivia to fall head-over-heels for the beguiling girl disguised as a boy. Thus begins perhaps the most famous love triangle in English literature.
And that’s only the start of the tangles. For Viola’s twin, Sebastian, is scouring Illyria for his lost sister, while Olivia’s disreputable uncle, Sir Toby Belch, is launching a cruel plot to humiliate her unbearably overstuffed steward, Malvolio.
These different threads are gradually pulled together in one of Shakespeare’s best-loved, funniest, and most roistering comedies. Stuffed with many of his most famous lines, luscious language and memorable characters, it’s an exhilarating romantic romp shot through with a wistful lyricism. And with more songs than any other Shakespeare play, as Orsino says, ‘If music be the food of love, play on’.
In the open air in the grounds of Coulsdon Manor Hotel, Wednesday 27th – Saturday 30th July, and again Wednesday 3rd – Saturday 6th August.