Reviewed by Peter Steptoe for The Croydon Advertiser
Bard-in-open is a great night out for the whole family
The second title of Twelfth Night, “Or what you will”, always appears more apt, and Theatre Workshop Coulsdon, whatever their shortcomings may have been with the iambic pentameters, simply exuded the spirit of Shakespeare.
Our Will still packs them in and he was ably assisted by the cunning direction of Richard Lloyd and Luke Argles. Playing in the open air also helped and the setting in the pub was idyllic.
There are two plots, and the subsidiary and farcical one appears to have been stitched on by the Bard.
Sir Toby Belch, bon viveur and lecher, was played by Richard Lloyd with an actor’s voice and prehensile eyebrows. Mike Brown was his sidekick Sir Andrew Aguecheek, of the comically and cowardly disposition, ably assisted by Tim Young as Fabian, whose accent came from the west country part of Illyria.
These, together with Tina Poole as Maria, whose rear should be black and blue by the end of the run, made life miserable for Chris Argles as the dessicated Malvolio. They have one of the great comic scenes, and they did it justice.
The main plot is of mistaken identity caused by look-a-like twins who are brother and sister: Lisa Lloyd as Viola with feminine charm, then made a plausible Cesario in doublet and tights.
Playing the part of her twin was Paul Bredon, replete with blonde wig. Their clothes were identical and we could accept that “They were two forms with but one face”.
Tanya Allison was Olivia in love with Cesario, and revealed a superb comic touch when the grimacing Malvolio declared his love for her.
Neil Grew was a young and handsome Duke of Orsino in love with Olivia but ends up with Cesario. All is okay because she is really Viola.
The only piece of sanity was Feste the fool (Nigel Sorensen), who had a delightful singing voice and added hugely to the evening’s merriment.
Mark Taylor composed and played the music in the manner of the cinema. I wondered if it might be distracting but soon found that it complemented the acting.
This is a great night out for all the family.
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