Pros: A hilariously energetic show with admirable performances all around.
Cons: It absolutely deserved a bigger audience.
Twelfth Night is part of Merely Theatre’s second UK tour, in which they also perform Romeo and Juliet. Proudly establishing themselves as a gender blind repertory company, their adaptation and production of the former play is an absolute treat. Just when I thought Shakespeare couldn’t become anymore confusing, the thought of a gender blind performance of such an already gender confused play worried me slightly. But I was very much put at ease and actually understood this play better than any others by Shakespeare that I’d seen before. It kept me gripped from start to finish. I found myself understanding aspects of the Bard’s work that I’d never considered before; definitely no previous experience necessary to make sense of this production.
Twelfth Night is Shakespeare’s comedic tale of miscommunication, heartache and madness. The set and lighting partner up to create the well-informed changes of time and location throughout the production. The design is simple, but there isn’t much that these performers need to support their energetic and incredulous performances. All five cast members are so full of energy, life and colour that it’s hard to take your eyes off them. Their portrayal of these characters, the connection they have with one another and the relationships we see grow between them on stage are truly special to observe.
The admirable energy and effort that have gone into every aspect of this production are so clearly visible on stage. Shakespeare’s plays can sometimes be hard to follow, but the collaborative work from these performers create a very accessible world and a great atmosphere for the audience.
There is a lot to be said about the way in which this company works. Working gender blind and partnering every role with a male and female counterpart breaks theatrical barriers. It was emotional and empowering experience to be able to see such a well-known play still moving and making such a wonderful productions. Merely Theatre is to be admired for the work they put on stage, and for what they represent in their creations.
Author: William Shakespeare
Director: Scott Ellis
Associate Director: Tatty Hennessey
Producer: Emmy Rose
Box Office: 020 8858 7755
Booking Link: http://www.greenwichtheatre.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2072:twelfth-night&catid=7:playingnow&Itemid=1
Booking Until: 22 April 2017