REVIEW: Twelfth Night, at Grand Theatre, Blackpool

English Touring Theatre's Twelfth Night
English Touring Theatre's Twelfth Night
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Outside the rain did raineth on the night of the big storm but inside all was joy and mellow light . . . and goings on!

English Touring Theatre’s production (with Sheffield Theatres) of William Shakespeare’s ‘twins’ play opened to an audience that included many high school students who had just had a half-hour talk with director Jonathan Munby.

It would have helped them make the big leap of imagination that moved the play quickly forward.

The setting was circa 1900 but the 300-year jump from its origins changed little apart from having an upright piano on which Feste the fool (Brian Protheroe) played his song of love. If music be the food of love etc...

There was also an old phonograph which allowed the rumbustious Sir Toby (David Fielder) to crank up the comedy by bellowing down the trumpet.

Sir Toby with his comic cohort Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Milo Twomey) soon showed the students where today’s knockabout comedy comes from!

But this is a play about unrequited love and it showed the students that a smart young man with the confidence to deliver wooing words can always attract fair lady, Olivia (Rebecca Johnson).

Except this young man was actually Viola (Rose Reynolds) in her ‘lost’ twin brother’s uniform, delivering his/her master’s words of love.

The elegant Count Orsini (Jake Fairbrother), the lively maid Maria (Dona Croll) and the deluded Malvolio (Hugh Ross) add colour to the plotting - and if you have ventured into this review you will know the story.

It’s well worth a refresher by the brilliant company of 14. It runs until Saturday.

Barry Band