Review: Twelfth Night: I prithee forsooth − get thee to the Theatre In The Hut
PUBLISHED: 11:40 04 May 2019 | UPDATED: 11:40 04 May 2019
Despite a promo featuring a Barbie doll dressed in Shakespearean robes, I was not overly excited about seeing Worle Operatic and Dramatic Society's (WODS) production of Twelfth Night last night (Thursday), thinking it would be dull and dry.
From what I can remember about studying Shakespeare from my school days, (and yes it was a long time ago!) I couldn't understand why they were so popular and relevant in today's world, being full of an overwordy, flowery language and over-the-top, slapstick, unbelievable storylines as they are − and that's just the comedies! And I was annoyed with them being so difficult to understand as I love books and indeed, achieved an A-level in English literature, so I did manage to bluff my way through some exams thanks to a well-thumbed studyguide!
So when I was asked to review this production I accepted more for the fact I love amateur dramatic groups − I yearn to join one, one day − and like to support local theatre. I also had never seen a performance in the quirky and tiny, Theatre In The Hut and had always been intrigued about how a theatre came to be in a big shed!
But sometimes having no preconceptions about how an evening is going to pan out, results in the best night ever − and this was one of those. The play was outstanding and easily one of the funniest things I have ever seen.
The talented cast were all awesome in their mostly over-the-top roles and the enjoyment and enthusiasm thrown into their individual performances was massively apparent and added up to a phenomenal and unforgettable show.
I would be hard-pressed to mention just a few of the outstanding performances but if pressed I must be I would have to say for sheer hilarity and the fact he physically threw himself into the role so much so he must be permanently bruised this week, Charlie Hockin was superb as the foppish idiot Sir Andrew Aguecheek and for how hoarse Robyn Sass must be today following her shriekingly chilling portrayal of The Fool, Feste, who was my theatre companion's favourite character, she must also get a shout-out. I also thought Paula Luke's Malvolio was also exceptional, as the part, usually played by a man even though the character is a woman, is extremely complex, ranging from being downright haughty through to vulnerable and outrageously camp and funny to crescendo into excrutiating embarrassment and sorrow. Just brilliant.
Becky Fuller as the principle boy Viola turned Cesario was also on point, as were Robert and Frances Iles in their supporting roles.
I also loved Warren Ingham-Barrow's Sir Toby Belch, who seemed a little too comfortable in the role and reminded me of David Jason and Louise Statter as Maria, the instigator of most of the tale's high jinx.
The story of unrequited love, lost souls, mistaken identity, lust and laughter is actually much easier to follow than I thought it would be, thanks to modern twists including an amusing storming off but waiting for the lift to come ruining the dramatic exit moments, plus video screen footage and voice recordings.
The amusing way the end of the scenes were played out by classic songs (some I haven't heard for a long time!) which summed up the plot of that scene were also a fantastic way of explaining the storyline for people who are not familiar with it.
In fact, I would urge anyone who is not a particular fan of Shakespeare to not be put off by that fact as I would defy anyone not to have the time of their lives watching it as I did.
I thought the intimacy of the small theatre was perfectly suited for the show and worked fantastically well for the characters to move between the audience, allowing them to elaborate on their characters and play up to the giggling onlookers.
The show is on at 7.30pm from now until Saturday, with a matinee on Saturday.
Tickets, priced £8-10, are available at www.worleoperatic.co.uk/tickets