Review: Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

The Stratford Festival of Canada presents
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
Performance viewed: September 7, 2006, 2 pm
Artistic Credits

Directed by Leon Rubin
Sets and costumes designed by John Pennoyer
Music composed by Michael Vieira
Lighting designed by Robert Thomson
Sound designed by Jim Neil
Choreography by Nicola Pantin

Assistant Director Melissa Haller
Assistant Designer Sherri Catt
Assistant Lighting Designer Nancy McCune
Dance Captain Keira Loughran
Fight Captain Thom Marriott

Stage Manager Brian Scott
Assistant Stage Managers Meghan Callan, Melissa Rood
Production Assistants Xanthe Faulkner, Emma Laird
Production Stage Manager Margaret Palmer

Production Credits

Responsibilities backstage during the performance accomplished by

Stage Carpenter Walter Sugden
Alternate Les MacLean
Master Electrician Alec Cooper
Property Master Art Fortin
Head of Sound Micael Duncan
Crew Tim Hartman, Karl Wylie
Wardrobe Mistress Gail Homersham-Robertson
Wardrobe Assistants Ina Brogan, Cvetka Fujs, Inez Khan, Luci Pottle
Wigs and Makeup Supervisor Gerald Altenburg
Wigs and Makeup Attendants Lorna Henderson, Alana Scheel


Conductor/Keybords Michael Vieira
Bagpipes/Shenai Ian Harper
Trumpet Philip Seguin, Heather Tucker
Horn Kate Stone
Trombone/Tuba Don Sweete
Percussion Michael E. Wood
The cast (in order of appearance)

Curio / Jon de LEON
Valentine / SEAN BAEK
Captain / IAN DEAKIN
Sir Toby Belch / THOM MARRIOTT
Sir Andrew Aguecheek / DON CARRIER
Antonio / ROY LEWIS
Sebastian / SHAUN McCOMB
First Officer / JACOB JAMES
Second Officer / JONATHAN GOULD

For production notes and photo links: Twelfth Night notes


Bollywood comes to Stratford Ontario — I have seen many approaches to this play, but I think this one, set during the English Raj really went beyond novelty and added an intriguing concept to Shakespeare’s. I just wish the concept had included Malvolio as perhaps a Sihk or Punjabi, to see how the politics would have fallen.

First and foremost, Dana Green was a wonderful Viola: she was a credible male, with good physicality, yet her witty misgivings — in the situations this maleness puts in her way — provided tremendous fun. Her lovelorn suffering, even against Talwar’s fairly weak Orsino, were evocative. I have to mention one place that Talwar shone: his expressions of ambiguous puzzlement over his relationship to Cesario, particularly when they were close.

Aguecheek as a Scot was an inspired decision, particularly since the regalia separated him from Toby and the rest even more than usual. I was at first a bit put off that Sir Toby was thin; however, Marriott soon overcame that quibble with some stellar business, including some very convincing comic inebriation which included much excellent body work.

One of the puzzles for me in this script is that Fabian is not in evidence until well into the “get Malvolio” plot; then he is in the thick of the action. Strange. Nobody has ever figured that out to my knowledge. As for Malvolio, I thought Bedford did his usual solid job, nothing amazing. I guess that is the trial of being a major actor: Bedford makes us expect magic where perhaps it is impossible.

The sense of misrule was really missing in this production. I have always thought it was a key ingredient. Still do.

Feste disappointed me: I found him too upright, strong, not world-weary enough. I did like his costume and makeup, It was interesting to note that his makeup changed subtlely during the play. I am not sure why this was so, but it does add interest if you are looking for details.
Overall, I liked the show, mainly because of Viola: Green is very interesting to watch: she has great range. The final costume change was great fun, moving us into the Bollywood ending. Wonderful costumes for Belch, Orsino, shipwrecked characters, Indians in general, Malvolio’s nightcap. The musicscape although subtle, was very effective. A fun afternoon.

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About riverwriter

Poet, playwright, duplicate bridge player, website designer, cottager, husband, father, grandfather, former athlete, carpenter, computer helper for my friends, theatre designer, backstage polymath, retired teacher of highschool English, drama, art, a baritone singer in a barbershop quartet, who knows what else? wordcurrents is on Facebook: Doug also has a Facebook page, "Incognitio", related to his novels.
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