Review / A ‘Night’ not to be missed

PJ Williams in “Twelfth Night”. Photo: Esh Photography

AFTER last year’s triumphant beginning with “Much Ado About Nothing”, it would have been a simple choice for Lakespeare & Co to repeat its successful formula: fast-paced comedy with supersized gestures played from a fixed stage facing the audience.

Lakespeare & Co partners, Duncan Driver and Lexi Sekuless, could have returned as co-directors and would no doubt have achieved similar success.

But his year’s “Twelfth Night” shows growth, change, a fresh approach and a new director.

The gender-bending, switcheroo rom-com that is “Twelfth Night” was played in the round, on the grass, at the same level as the audience. Its commedia in kilts with a flavour that tastes strongly of the real Canberra. In the tradition of commedia, there are plenty of local and topical references and audience interactions.

The free performances rely heavily on sponsorship from of local businesses, community organisations and government. These are acknowledged with shameless and hilarious product-placement woven through the show.

Director Christopher Stollery used of a range of Aussie/Canberra accents to show character status.

Feste the fool (Lloyd Allison-Young) wore trackie dacks with one leg rolled up and spoke like a belligerent teenager in the Tuggeranong Interchange. Romantic lead, Orsino’s (Duncan Driver) Anglophilic, received pronunciation was straight outa the ANU precinct.

The voice work was outstanding throughout with a highly accomplished choral finale. The costumes were works of art. The revelation of prudish Malvolio’s (Christopher Samuel Carroll) yellow tights and cross-gartered ensemble was unforgettable.

The cast of consummate professionals were largely home grown with several having studied their craft internationally. In post-centenary Canberra, a proud yet self effacing culture is emerging. Don’t miss this show!

Tonight, Friday, February 21, 6pm, Tuggeranong Town Park; Saturday, noon and 6pm, Glebe Park, Civic and Sunday, 4.30pm, Patrick White Lawns, Parkes.

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