Fringe Box



Review: Twelfth Night – Yvonne Arnaud

Published on: 14 Nov, 2012
Updated on: 14 Nov, 2012

Vince Leigh (Sir Toby), Liam O’Brien (Feste) and John Dougall (Sir Andrew Aguecheek) in Propeller’s Twelfth Night – Photo by Manuel Harlan.

By The Stage Dragon

Propeller Theatre has once again managed to bring sophistication, modernisation and sheer genius to its production of this Shakespeare classic; Twelfth Night.

Shakespeare’s play tells a twisted tale of disguise, deception and mistaken identities. Dark yet charming, the play asks ‘what happens when you fall in love with the wrong person?’ and the answer is both beautiful and bittersweet. As described by them, Propeller “mixes a rigorous approach to the text with a modern physical aesthetic” – this all-male company are technically brilliant.

John Dougall (Sir Andrew Aguecheek) in Propeller’s Twelfth Night – Photo by Manuel Harlan

Edward Hall founded Propeller in the 90’s and has worked on many Shakespeare plays since, often gaining awards for their success and it’s not hard to see why. He is clever in his direction, making sure each actor always has something to do – never leaving the space without action, unless to aid the text. His use of modern aesthetics and references such as costume, set and accompanying music allows the audience to engage and understand better, Shakespeare’s often complicated dialogue.

One scene in which Hall’s direction is simply excellent is the last in Act One. Throughout the play Hall has all his actors on stage – whether this be as their character or wearing plain, half masks while aiding scene changes, playing instruments (another big part of Propeller’s productions) or acting through physical theatre to create parts of the set.

In this scene, we see Malvolio (Chris Myles) receive a letter supposedly from Olivia (Ben Allen) declaring her love for him. All while the comedy trio is in the background of the scene 9see photo below) interacting with their masked colleagues to see no evil hear no evil and speak no evil; this use of dramatic irony is brilliant. The pace, physicality and excellent sound effects created from the ensemble all support Myles’ brilliant performance as Malvolio, in this important scene for his character.

Liam O’Brien (Feste) and Vince Leigh (Sir Toby) and the company in Propeller’s Twelfth Night – Photo by Manuel Harlan.

It is difficult to single out specific actors for their performance: this is very much a company piece and the cast as a whole are highly skilled. Everyone works incredibly well together and using additional abilities such as musicianship, and even some tap dancing from Maria (Gary Shelford), just adds to the 2hr 43min production. I mention the length because while long, it absolutely flies by.

If there are still tickets available – I believe it’s been selling very well – get yourself down to the Yvonne Arnaud before it leaves on Saturday 17th November. Even if you’re “not one for Shakespeare”, I challenge you not to enjoy this production of Twelfth Night!

Share This Post

Responses to Review: Twelfth Night – Yvonne Arnaud

  1. Sally Parrott Reply

    November 17, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    I agree! There are a few tickets left for the 2.30 and 8pm performances, for Propeller’s thrilling production of Twelfth Night. Take partners and offspring who say they don’t understand or like Shakespeare – they’ll understand and LOVE this.

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *