Monday, December 14, 2009

Twelfth Night at Seattle Shakes a bit tame

My Sweetie, the official scorer, and I have a special place in our hearts for Twelfth Night. We saw the Seattle Rep's 1991 production of the play on our first "big time" date, which included dinner at the late, great Lofurno's Restaurant. We've seen several stagings recently. The Rep did it again two years ago, GreenStage did it last year, Oregon Shakespeare Festival ran it in 2005 and is bringing it back next season, with the dee-lish Miriam Laube in the role of Olivia.

This year's production at Seattle Shakespeare Company, directed by Stephanie Shine, stands up pretty well to the rest of them, thanks especially to marvelous performances by Susannah Millonzi as Viola/Cesario, Carol Roscoe as Maria, Darragh Kennan as Sir Andrew Aguecheek, and John Bogar as Malvolio. Kennan was alternately comic and conspiratorial as the not-so-brave knight, and Roscoe lit up the stage whenever she was there. It was our first time seeing Roscoe on stage. She directed the brilliant End Days at Seattle Public Theatre  back in February, and the disappointing Dead Man's Cell Phone at ArtsWest in September. That's Roscoe, Kennan, and Ray Gonzalez as Sir Toby Belch above in the company photo by Erik Stuhaug.

One beef with the play is that it was just a little too timid. Twelfth Night is one of the Bard's bawdiest, but they almost seemed to be playing down the dirty jokes and lechery. Case in point was Gonzalez as Sir Toby, who was played as sometimes a little tipsy, sometimes still a tough knight, but just not the bigger-than-life character that the role requires and we know Gonzalez can deliver. Mike Dooly was boisterous and fun as Antonio, but it's a small role and we didn't get to see nearly enough of him. We enjoyed Chris Ensweiler as Feste, the fool, but he, too wasn't nearly so amped up as he was playing another clown, Truffaldino, in The Servant of Two Masters on this same stage back in January. Nonetheless, he's a funny man.

The music was fun, and included an audience sing-along round, which we practiced in the pre-show warm-up, not knowing we'd be performing later.

Twelfth Night is a good time. It runs through Dec. 27.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Sounds like a fun night nonetheless! (and I miss Lofurno's!)