This version of the Bard’s comedy could well go beyond the three scheduled performances if the audience so chooses from the three shows on offer by Shakespeare’s Globe at Spoleto Festival this year (“Pericles” and “Comedy of Errors” are the other two). Most likely it will.
The cast of eight actors play their way, on their assortment of instruments, through the audience to the stage where a simple two-storied wooden façade serves as the backdrop. “Twelfth Night” by the talented Globe crew at Dock Street Theatre is a frill-less – a bit too less – fun, lively, and interactive performance.
The love triangle between Duke Orsino, Countess Olivia and Viola is presented in a dynamic fashion. Skilled direction by Brendan O’Hea, calming musical interludes composed by Bill Barclay, definitive costumes – that could have used a touch of glamor – cross-gender casting and dual-role performances characterize this “Twelfth Night.” There’s a twin, two pirates, and wedding bells in the mix as well.
Olivia spurns Orsino’s advances and falls for his messenger Cesario – who is in love with Orsino and is Viola in disguise. Another story runs parallel in which Olivia’s uncle Sir Toby Belch and Sir Andrew Aguecheek plot revenge against the pompous steward Malvolio resulting in some cross-gartered yellow stockings and a bulging crotch guard. Feste, Olivia’s licensed fool, has a part to play in this ploy and stays true to his sagacious, witty self, singing and dancing, and collecting his due in coins.
Andreus Gaucas steals the show as Olivia with such distinguished flair coupled with the giddiness of a lovestruck girl while Erik Sirakian brings Cesario to the stage with attractive vulnerability. Mark Desebrock makes Malvolio the quintessential antagonist and Collin Campbell does hilarious justice to the drunken Sir Toby. Natasha Magigi is Feste with abandon. She leads the crew in the final song with, “…A great while ago the world begun, with hey, ho, the wind and the rain. But that’s all one, our play is done…” And the Globe will strive to please every day, for as many nights as the audience decrees.
This review was written independently at Spoleto Festival USA in May 2019.