Star rating – 7/10
A play of two halves really for the RSC’s latest Stratford offering. This production of ‘Twelfth Night’ was apparently delayed until Richard Wilson was available to play Malvolio. I am just not sure that someone who is so known for one character can credibly play another. At times it felt like the audience was waiting for him to announce ‘I don’t believe it’…
The funniest characters by half were actually played by the wonderful James Fleet (from The Vicar of Dibley apparently) as Sir Andrew Aguecheek, and Richard McCabe as his partner in general drunken behaviour, Sir Toby Belch. The scene where they are eavesdropping in the box tree at the end of the first half of the play is truly hilarious.
This is a difficult play to follow – basically, everyone loves Olivia, and some of the characters are not who they seem to be. To say more would be to give too much away (and would quite possibly be beyond me). The second half definitely felt a bit weaker and contrived. Not sure if that is a fault of the Bard himself, or of this particular production from Greg Doran. To be a bit more picky – the Fool played by Miltos Yerolemou, did not really have a strong enough voice for the part.
But to be positive, Nancy Carroll plays the part of Viola/Cesario very assuredly. The set is fabulous, and as usual it was a pleasure to be at the Courtyard Theatre. Just a shame the play’s denouement felt a little far fetched.