BWW Review: TWELFTH NIGHT at PumpHouse Theatre
The beautiful setting of the amphitheatre on the shore of Lake Pupuke and adjacent to the main PumpHouse Theatre is the perfect place to enjoy a night of Shakespearean theatre. Come early and enjoy the offerings of the French Rendezvous Cafe complete with bar facilities. Bring your own cushions and blankets if you wish and set yourself up for a great night of theatre right in the centre of the North Shore.
I thoroughly enjoyed my experience last Saturday night when 'significant other' and I attended Twelfth Night which is one of two offerings for the Shoreside Theatre's season of Auckland Shakespeare in the Park. The other play is Henry V and they run alternatively.
As a lover of the rich and totally delicious words of Shakespeare I was thrilled to be part of the audience for one of my favourite's, Twelfth Night; a rollicking great romp of confusion amidst tricky, intrigue, a love triangle, disguises and great fun. Director James Bell, whilst delivering a very true-to-the-heart-of-the-story, has added his own take with subtleties that were well received.
I found myself making connections between Shakespeare's era of dressing up and masking to create a platform for anonymously 'playing' with love and today's gender fluidity where the lines are blurred albeit for varied reasons.
Gender and power find clarification through the character of Feste because he is afforded all of the privileges of a male in a patriarchal society. Add a twist to this with the role being played admirably by a woman (Monique Nel). Feste is both witty and silly and terribly wise. Nel has some classic lines, my favourite being 'that but is, is.' Her singing is to die for and you'll find yourself wanting to help out.
The play's title refers to the holiday celebrated on the twelfth day after Christmas known as Epiphany. Hence, Feste's name is a derivative of the word festival and his/her jokes and witticisms are characteristic of the holiday.
Epiphany being the operative word as there are many surprise revelations.
The cast is diverse, their characters are delicious and meld together effectively to keep the audience engaged in this rollicking great tale. Everyone will have their favourites but you are bound to enjoy the energy of Liz Cannon's Maria, the beautiful Olivia (Lauren Wilson), Geoff Gun's stereotypical heartthrob Orsino, and James Carrick as Sir Toby Belch is the epitome of the freeloading playboy who never grew up. Contrasting him is Malvolio the stiff and proper servant who falls victim to a prank played by Duncan Preston.
Preston's comedic timing and facials are a delight. Miriana McGechie carries off the dual roles of Viola and Cesario with ease and her twin Sebastian (Jonathan Capel Baker) is natural in his role.
Special mention to the costuming and musicians who appear in this play.
Shoreside Theatre Inc
Auckland Shakespeare in the Park
12TH Night - Fri 1st Feb, Sun 3rd Feb, Wed 6th Feb, CLOSING Fri 8th Feb