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“Twelfth Night”  

I may not have been asked to write a review for ACT's production of Twelfth Night – but in the interests of keeping a record of amateur shows I felt compelled to write a few lines.  I am not on the whole a Shakespeare fan as such – but I enjoy most theatre, and this was no exception.  Appreciation of good acting and technicals can always rise above a vehicle I am not too keen on.

I was not as convinced with this production of a Shakespeare play as I was with, for example, the Rep’s Hamlet, I felt there was something missing somewhere along the line, but couldn’t quite put my finger on it, although there was a lot to commend it as well.

I liked the set, which was in keeping with the play and accommodated the action well.  The costumes were very good looking, I particularly liked Megan Clarke's – she looked stunning – and she also had a great hairdo!

The men in their uniform jackets looked very smart and I loved the array of swords – it was just a shame they didn't get to use them – a sword fight would have added to the action no end – but then I always like a bit of action to keep the wits sharp!

I thought Steven Clarke as Feste created an excellent character and he kept my interest going throughout the play, whilst Malcolm Farrar as Malvolio gave us such wonderful facial expressions and meaning that it didn't matter that I couldn't always hear what he was saying – in fact I don't try to analyse Shakespeare's words too much, otherwise I lose the essential part of the acting.  

Megan Clarke was Olivia and I loved what she did with the part, her clarity of speech and her overall acting ability, which brought the character to life – there were many dimensions to this lady’s portrayal.

The dual part of Viola/Cesario was accomplished nicely by Emily French - she was a charming female at the outset, but managed to get a nicely boyish feel to her character once she appeared in uniform.  I also liked Luke Howard as Sebastian her twin brother – we had to use our imaginations a little when the cast mistook one for the other – but unless you're very lucky this is often the case in amateur productions, as finding a male and female that are alike in size and look is a very difficult want!

Someone voiced the thought that Adam Lloyd Jones was over-acting as Sir Toby Belch – but it wouldn't be that part if it wasn't larger than life.  I found him a little annoying, but thought it was a good portrayal. I particularly liked James Trapp as Sir Andrew Aguecheek, always the slightly dim-witted foil to Meg and Sir Andrew – and his falling about on stage was very well accomplished.

Miranda Larson gave us a wonderfully cheeky Meg – sparkling eyes, lots of cheek and innuendo – which was a lovely contrast to the solemnity of Olivia.

Alan Clarke played the part of Orsino with authority, not a part he could really get his teeth into – but he looked as if he was in charge and that everything was being directed by him (as the character – not just as the actual Director)!

I also liked Richard Alexander as Antonio - he again projected a wealth of meaning and clarity into his speeches, leaving us in no mistake regarding his intentions.

The main characters were supported by Josh Thompson – ever present in most productions over the past few months – but now taking a well-deserved rest, Andy Sizmur who also pops up all over the place, and James Clarke, who helped make this truly a family production, with Adam Clarke running the lighting and Myrna Clarke supplying props and many other things I'm sure.

An interesting and enjoyable evening – with several stand out performances that made the whole a good evening’s entertainment.

Nova Horley


TWELFTH NIGHT” dates: 25th July 2013

Little Theatre, Dunstable

Directed by: Alan Clarke


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