Twelfth Night: re-imagined

Opened 21 June 2014, Closed 12 July 2014 at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre in London

The Open Air Theatre present William Shakespeare's comedy Twelfth Night re-imagined for everyone aged six above for a strictly limited season of just 22 morning and afternoon performances.

A madcap tale of mistaken identity that is guaranteed to captivate younger audiences. Featuring music, laughs and lots to join in with, the original text sizzles with anticipation as confusion clears to reveal a happy-ever-after. This promises to be the perfect play to share with all the family, and an ideal introduction to Shakespeare for those aged six and above.

This production is directed by Max Webster.

A specially adapted version of Twelfth Night in London at the Open Air Theatre Regent's Park opened on 21 June 2014 and closed on 12 July 2014.


Shakespeare's Globe Theatre: Twelfth Night - 2012

Previewed 2 November 2012, Opened 17 November 2012, Closed 9 February 2013 at the Apollo Theatre in London

The Shakespeare's Globe Theatre present William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night in London in an all-male Original Practices production, exploring clothing, music, dance and settings possible in around 1601.

The cast features Mark Rylance as 'Olivia' and Stephen Fry as 'Malvolio' along with Samuel Barnett as 'Sebastian', Johnny Flynn as 'Viola', Colin Hurley as 'Sir Toby Belch' and Roger Lloyd Pack as 'Sir Andrew Aguecheek'. The production is directed by Tim Carroll with designs by Jenny Tiramani and music by Claire van Kampen.

"There's much to enjoy in Tim Carroll's candlelit, music-filled revival of the production originally staged at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre ten years ago, though his emphasis on the play's merriment misses its mood of melancholy. A glorious Rylance plays Olivia with Kabuki-like daintiness, hidden beneath black veils but unable to disguise her desire for Duke Orsino's dishy pageboy, Cesario. Paul Chahidi is an unexpected show stealer as mischievous housekeeper Maria: he plumps up the part perfectly, realising her as a woman who has the entire household - upstairs and downstairs - under her thumb... Johnny Flynn's prettily androgynous Viola is enchanting... Flynn is well-matched by Samuel Barnett as Viola's twin Sebastian, a wholly plausible lookalike if not quite as cute." The Mail on Sunday

"Here is a director who has sufficient faith in his audience to present the work of our greatest playwright with a sense of fun and ingenuity, but also total fidelity. The cast he has assembled is a veritable box of fireworks, and, my goodness, how their characters sparkle, fizzle, boom and explode upon the stage in blazes of vivid colour... It is a work of magnificent obsessions: each costume, for instance, has been hand-stitched by up to 20 craftsmen, and this marks the first occasion that Renaissance instruments have been performed live in a play on Shaftesbury Avenue... I doubt I will ever see a better Twelfth Night and I feel a profound sense of gratitude to Mr Carroll for having the courage to put on Shakespeare in the way that he would have done it himself." The Sunday Telegraph

Twelfth Night in London at the Apollo Theatre previewed from 2 November 2012, opened on 17 November 2012 and closed on 9 February 2013 - played in repertory with Richard III.


Royal Shakespeare Company: Twelfth Night - 2009

Previewed 19 December 2009, Opened 22 December 2009, Closed 27 February 2010 at the Duke of York's Theatre in London.

The Royal Shakespeare Company presents William Shakespeare's darkly comic play Twelfth Night featuring Richard Wilson in his RSC debut playing 'Malvolio' and directed by Gregory Doran.

Everyone is looking for love - some in impossible places. Some mourn the love they have lost. Some long for love they are refused. In Illyria love aches and madness rules.

The cast for the RSC's Twelfth Night in London features Richard Wilson as 'Malvolio, with Alexandra Gilbreath as 'Olivia', James Fleet as Sir Andrew Aguecheek', Nancy Carroll as 'Viola', Richard McCabe as 'Sir Toby Belch', Jo Stone-Fewings as 'Orsino', Pamela Nomvete as 'Maria' and Milton Yerolemou as 'Feste'. Directed by Gregory Doran with movement by Struan Leslie, designs by Robert Jones, lighting by Tim Mitchell, music by Paul Englishby, sound by Martin Slavin and fights by Terry King. This production was originally seen at the Royal Shakespeare Comany's Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in October 2009.

"It must have seemed such a wheeze to cast the nation's most famous and most beloved grumpy old man in the role of Shakespeare's grouchiest character in the enchanting comedy of errors Twelfth Night. Richard Wilson plays Malvolio - the snooty, killjoy steward in the household of Countess Olivia - who is forever harrumphing about the rowdy behaviour of the permanently drunk slob Sir Toby Belch and his foppish drinking partner Sir Andrew Aguecheek. As it turns out, Wilson is the weakest link in Greg Doran's fitfully charming new revival... There's little more to his performance than a nasal and constipated bark of disdain. Even his yellow stockings are more hideous than ridiculous and he fails entirely to make one care when his persecutors shut him up in the dark... Fortunately, there is plenty to delight elsewhere, not least Robert Jones's atmospheric, sun-baked set of honey-coloured walls... Nancy Carroll is a lovely, earnest Viola, touchingly fretful and flustered by her hopeless position in which she's disguised as a man and besotted with the Duke, her master, played by Jo Stone-Fewings as a Byronic figure luxuriating in his infatuation. Miltos Yerolemou's Feste the fool cheekily draws out Olivia's sense of fun by teasingly calling her 'Mad Donna', and Alexandra Gilbreath is a strikingly playful and merry Countess. Indeed, while Doran's production is amusingly alert to the play's merriment, unfortunately it misses its essential bittersweet melancholy." The Mail on Sunday

"Watching Richard Wilson capering arthritically around in underpants and thigh-high yellow stockings is one of the highlights of this RSC Shakespeare comedy... The play is all about the blindness of love. And old Will Shakespeare was a dab hand at farce, so you get a mad scramble of women falling for women dressed as men, men for men who are women ... and so on. And while the lines are 400 years old, under Gregory Doran's direction, the gestures are thoroughly 21st century... A fun introduction to the Bard." The New of the World

RSC's Twelfth Night in London at the Duke of York's Theatre previewed from 19 December 2009, opened on 22 December 2009 and closed on 27 February 2010.


Donmar Warehouse's Twelfth Night with Derek Jacobi - 2008

Previewed 5 December 2008, Opened 10 December 2008, Closed 7 March 2009 at the Wyndham's Theatre in London

The Donmar Warehouse present William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night in London in a production directed by Michael Grandage and starring Derek Jacobi.

Shipwrecked and fearing her twin brother dead, Viola is swept onto the shores of Illyria. Disguising herself as a boy, she takes a post in the Duke's court and, on his behalf, attempts to woo his loved one, the Lady Olivia.

The cast for Twelfth Night features Derek Jacobi as 'Malvolio' along with Victoria Hamilton as 'Viola', Samantha Spiro as 'Maria', Indira Varma as 'Olivia', Guy Henry as 'Sir Andrew Aguecheek', Mark Bonnar as 'Duke of Orsino', Ron Cook as 'Sir Toby Belch' and Zubin Varla as 'Feste' with Norman Bowman, Ian Drysdale, James Howard, Lloyd Hutchinson and Alex Waldmann. It is directed by Michael Grandage with designs by Christopher Oram, lighting by Neil Austin, music by Juian Philips and sound by Fergus O'Hare. Derek Jacobi's recent London West End theatre credits include A Voyage Round My Father (Wyndham's Theatre 2006) and Don Carlos (Gielgud Theatre 2005).

"You're never going to forget that Derek Jacobi is Derek Jacobi, and this is certainly true of his Malvolio here. His rich, fruity, worldly tones seem at odds with the stiff, uncomfortable, desiccated, pleasure-hating character of the steward. When he appears in those famous cross-gartered yellow stockings, however, along with a blazer and baggy white shorts, the effect is as ridiculously funny as ever, and his attempts to manage a smile are uproarious. The director, Michael Grandage, handles the transition from laughter to pity with masterful ease. By the time Malvolio is penned in an underground cell, pleading for his release and protesting that he has been notoriously abused, we have ceased to find much humour in his continued torment... Christopher Oram's set is the best of its kind, lovely to look at yet never intruding or distracting from the text, the most musical and melodious Shakespeare ever wrote." The Sunday Times

"Michael Grandage has done it again. With another brilliant choice of play, an impeccable cast and an inspired production, the man's a directorial genius. Christopher Oram's set locates the play in a vaguely Mediterranean coastal town where a haughty, raven-haired Indira Varma as the Countess Olivia is every inch a Goya madonna in full mourning glory following her brother's death. Shipwrecked twin Viola, like the heroine of a lush Fifties Hollywood film, with her glorious gown of glimmering water-coloured taffeta miraculously dry, is rescued from the sea by a sailor... Derek Jacobi's Malvolio, the steward tricked into believing Olivia adores him and into thrusting his imagined greatness upon her, sounds spookily like John Gielgud. Pricelessly funny when all puffed up, he is pitiable in his soiled yellow garters, physically and mentally punctured by his humiliation. A stellar performance and a night to treasure." The Mail on Sunday

Presented as the second production of the Donmar Warehouse Season at the Wyndham's Theatre which runs from September 2008 to August 2009 and comprises of three other plays: Anton Chekhov's Ivanov, Yukio Mishima's Madame de Sade and William Shakespeare's Hamlet.

Twelfth Night in London at the Wyndham's Theatre previewed from 5 December 2008, opened on 10 December 2008 and closed on 7 March 2009.


Propeller Theatre Company Twelfth Night - 2007

Previewed 5 January 2007, Opened 17 January 2007, Closed 17 February 2007 at the Old Vic Theatre in London

The critically acclaimed all-male company, The Propeller Theatre Company present Shakespeare's comedy Twelfth Night in a production directed by Edward Hall with designs by Michael Pavelka and lighting by Ben Ormerod.

In Twelfth Night, a man plays a girl disguised as a boy, which confuses everybody. What begins as an idle trick played on an unwitting drunk at a party in Padua, ends in bittersweet confusion on the island of Illyria. Over the course of the play, Shakespeare takes us on a journey that constantly reminds us that the opposite is always true. This production is performed by The Propeller Theatre Company in repertory with The Taming of the Shrew.

"Pairing The Taming of the Shrew with Twelfth Night is a brilliant idea. Both plays are about play-acting. Personalities are born or acquired, or thrust upon the needy or the unwary. The birth or rebirth of a real personality, the recognition of others and oneself, are the bright materials of both plays... This production [of Twelfth Night] brings the best out of Hall. It is both a punk dream and a Renaissance entertainment. An all-male cast makes much more sense here: this play is about love and sexuality, as opposed to lust and gender." The Sunday Times

"Both plays share the same cast, the same set and the same dramatic devices - the cast [are] skilled all-round performers to their toes... The set (two wardrobes and a chest of drawers), used so resourcefully and wittily in The Taming of the Shrew, becomes a series of lumbering props to be shifted round the stage; and the exuberant use of music becomes an irritating side-line. The sense of the decadent aftermath of Christmas festivities is well evoked... but the production lacks bite. The revellers never capture our sympathy, and without it there's no sting in the tail when they, and, by extension we, the audience, are discovered for the bullies we have been." The Sunday Telegraph

"On a dreamy set filled with mirrored wardrobes, Edward Hall accentuates the play's surreal qualities and the fact that it is stuffed with couples whose relationships-find distorted reflections in those of others around them. Moreover, when they are not required, this fabulously talented and versatile band become a sort of chorus, observing the action from behind a face mask, and commenting by producing atmospheric sound effects. But the real strength of this absorbing, intelligent, ensemble performance comes from the company's acute alertness to the characters' sexual ambiguities, for none of them is quite whom he or she seems to be. At the play's emotional centre is the wonderful Tam Williams's extremely affecting Viola. Already a man play-acting a young woman, she is forced into having to disguise 'herself' as a page, Cesario. 'She' falls madly in love with her master, Duke Orsino, and has to cope with being the object of Countess Olivia's affection. Williams perfectly captures her perplexed state of mind. Tony Bell's exceptional Fool presides over the action with splendidly mellifluous melancholy. Funny, moving and magical." The Mail on Sunday

Twelfth Night in London at the Old Vic Theatre previewed from 5 January 2007, opened on 17 January 2007 and closed on 17 February 2007.


RSC's Twelfth Night - 2005

Previewed 8 December 2005, Opened 13 December 2005, Closed 31 December 2005 at the Novello Theatre in London

The Royal Shakespeare Company present William Shakespeare's comedy Twelfth Night in London directed by the RSC's Artistic Director Michael Boyd.

Identical twins are shipwrecked and separated on distant shores. Fearing the other to be dead, each embarks on a new life in a strange land.

The cast features Richard Cordery, Nicky Henson, Clive Wood with Peter Bygott, Eke Chukwu, Meg Fraser, Barnaby Kay, Kananu Kirimi, John MacKay, Forbes Masson, Aislin McGuckin, Alan Morrissey, Christopher Obi, Barrie Palmer, Christopher Robert, Gurpreet Singh, Sally Tatum and Kevin Trainor. Directed by Michael Boyd with designs by Tom Piper, lighting by Vince Herbert, music by John Woolf and Sianed Jones, sound by Andrea J. Cox and flights by Terry King. This production comes into London's West End following a season at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in April 2005.

"Michael Boyd's Twelfth Night is a holiday. Whatever the cares of running the Royal Shakespeare Company, he seems to have shrugged them off in this production. It's fresh, funny, poignant and uses jazz to wonderful effect. I loved it. Feste resembles a young George Melly in his checked suit. Music is not the food of love but, for those starved of love, it's the best substitute going... The final bouquet must go to Gavin Marshall, director of 'aerial movement'. Pigs may not fly but, in this production, pianos, music stands and people do. Love can knock anyone off their feet." The Observer

"Michael Boyd...has an extraordinary gift for conceiving Shakespeare in terms of richly three-dimensional space and visual motifs...watching his new RSC modern-dress account of Twelfth Night, I felt that gift again" The Financial Times

"You know at once that something is wrong. Duke Orsino, a thuggish playboy whose voice and body language strongly suggest he needs counselling. is listening to a pop band. Then an upright piano and the music stands are flown up, and hover up there for the rest of the play... The strategy behind Michael Boyd's production is clear. This play needs revving up. We need speed. We need gags. We don't do posh. Irony and social nuances are out. WS is a people's playwright." The Sunday Times

RSC's Twelfth Night in London at the Novello Theatre previewed from 8 December 2005, opened on 13 December 2005 and closed on 31 December 2005.


Tara Arts's Twelfth Night - 2004

Previewed 18 August 2004, Opened 26 August 2004, Closed 30 October 2004 at the Noel Coward Theatre in London.

Tara Art's present an Indian themed version of William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night in London directed by Stephen Beresford.

A monsoon, a shipwreck and that's just the beginning... As you have never seen it, Shakespeare's play comes to life on the shores of the Arabian Sea and the exuberant world of contemporary India, princes and servants, holy men and castaways are thrown together in a storm of confusion and mistaken identity.

The cast for Twelfth Night in London features Neha Dubey as 'Olivia', Shereen Martineau as 'Viola', Raza Jaffrey as 'Orsino', Paul Bhattacharjee as 'Malvolio', Kulvinder Ghir as 'Feste', Shiv Grewal as 'Toby Belch' and Paul Bazely as 'Andrew Aguecheek' along with Sagar Arya, Amarjit Bassan, Joanna Burnett, Raaghav Chanana, Neil D'Souza, Shereen Martineau, Amit Shah, Kish Sharma, Harvey Virdi. Directed by Stephen Beresford with designs by Jonathan Fensom, lighting by Jason Taylor, music by Sara Dhillon and sound by Fergus O'Hare.

"Turning Illyria into India circa 1970, this co-production by Tara Arts is certainly refreshing, and its opening scenes are arresting. Shereen Martineau's Viola, dressed in a sari, stumbles out of a torrential rainstorm clutching a suitcase... Martineau, who hitherto has only played small parts for the RSC, is worth her weight in gold. She speaks verse beautifully, with a gentle Indian accent and a subtle grasp of iambic pentameters' lyrical formality... Meanwhile, Raza Jaffrey invests Orsino with febrile, bitter frustration as he stews over his unrequited love for Olivia... This Indian version also works well when Olivia mourns her brother at a shrine adorned with garlands, and in the veiled ladies' scene where hints of caste barriers creep into Olivia's queries about the parentage of the attractive go-between... Unfortunately, those are the highlights. The ensemble's acting is uneven and sluggishly paced, with much of the comedy falling flat... Nice overall concept. Needs some more fine-tuning." The Independent on Sunday

"Stephen Beresford's production of Twelfth Night has an Indian cast, Indian colour scheme, and a great deal of Indian detail. But it offers a blend of cultures rather than a wholesale transposition... For the most part the mixture works beautifully. The production achieves a delicate balancing-act. It reminds us that cultures are very similar, and very different: there are universal passions and perennial social types, but they always have a local habitation and a distinctive flavour... Brisk though they are, the comic scenes are never allowed to overshadow the romance. Shereen Martineau makes a charming Viola. Raaghav Chanana is a sturdy Sebastian; Raza Jaffrey, a youngish and far from absurd Orsino. Neha Dubey's Olivia radiates sex appeal." The Sunday Telegraph

Twelfth Night in London at the Noel Coward Theatre previewed from 18 August 2004, opened on 26 August 2004 and closed on 30 October 2004.