Hie Thee to TWELFTH NIGHT, OR WHAT YOU WILL at Colonial Playhouse

by Lisa Panzer

Director Jennifer Wolfe has assembled a talented cast and has taken TWELFTH NIGHT by William Shakespeare to a nifty new level of novelty, while retaining tradition. Although the characters are attired in modern garb, set in modern times replete with pizza and paparazzi, the essence of Shakespeare’s brilliant blend of simplicity and sophistication shine through in Colonial’s thoroughly entertaining production of this jaunty romantic comedy, revealing how the author’s words, written over four centuries ago, remain relevant and still ring true today.

Olivia (delightfully done by Ginger Fries), is under siege by the courtship of Duke Orsino (handsomely played by Carl Hyde), who is in love with her, but she is in a severe melancholy state over losing her brother and will not have a suitor. Viola (thoughtfully portrayed by Grace Tarves), who believes her own brother to be lost to the sea, changes her visage to that of a boy named Cesario, takes up employment with Orsino, becoming his messenger of romance. Olivia becomes smitten with Cesario, but Viola’s heart resides with Orsino. Additional complications are folded into the triplet mix by friends and relatives who play pranks, give false witness, incite fights, twist words and help make the situation increasingly hilarious.

Feste, musician, fool/clown and “corrupter of words”, fabulously crafted by multi-talented Christopher Tolomeo, moves in and out of all social circles, and also plays the part of commentator as the folly ensues, plucking laughter from the audience as he issues out wonderfully funny wise-cracks, witticisms and asides. Ken Wilson, who also plays Orsino’s servant Valentine, rakes in the laughs as Fabian, along with Russ Walsh as Sir Toby Belch and Gil Johnson Sir Andrew; a great comedic ensemble! Maria is smartly wrought by Erin Guard, and Malvolio is vividly embodied by Bill King. Steve Travers provides pluck as Sebastian and Jim Ewald gives Antonio an added edge. Christopher Moran plays his characters, Curio and the Guard well and with regard, while Jessica McGowan energetically delivers the roles of Reverend and Guard. JP Timlin’s brief splash upon the stage as the Captain is strong, his stage presence and voice enrich the role with poignance. Kudos, cast!

Bruce Warren’s set is simply grand; a well attired multi-tiered affair, with moving parts, which deserves applause. Good scenic design by Patrick O’Neil and fight scenes, choreographed by Penny Beene and captained by Gil Johnson are fun to watch. Lighting glitches detracted from the show, but were short lived. Costumes, by Annaliese Gove, are engaging to the eye and correspond cleverly to setting and characters. Live music, performed and produced by Christopher Tolomeo and Gregory Brady greatly enhance the theatergoer’s experience.

So many great lines are packed into this play such as Feste’s bawdy remark to Malvolio, “Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage…” and quips like “Excellently done, if God did all,”given by Viola/Cesario to Olivia regarding her looks, or Sir Toby’s philosophy on ‘time’, “…To be up after midnight and to go to bed then, is early: so that to go to bed after midnight is to go to bed betimes…” and more. The cast of TWELFTH NIGHT at Colonial Playhouse makes them palatable, enjoyable and memorable.

Get ye there:

by William Shakespeare
Directed by Jennifer Wolfe
January 16 – 31, 2015
Colonial Playhouse
522 W. Magnolia Ave.
Aldan, PA 19018-0091

You may also like

Leave a Reply