Twelfth Night

SKY CITY Theatre, Auckland

10/02/2024 - 25/02/2024

Production Details

Author: William Shakespeare
Director: David Lawrence
Music Director: Paul McLaney

Pop-up Globe

Viola, a young lady of noble birth, has been shipwrecked off the coast of Illyria, a strange and unfamiliar land. (See full synopsis below)

All you know and love from Pop-up Globe – one stage surrounded by audience members on three sides; one cast of 15 performers presenting 2 full productions of Shakespeare’s masterworks; a beautiful Jacobean set and costumes; music, fights and dance; beauty, bawdiness and smut; the lights on so everyone shares the same space, the same light; a cast some of whom you know and love, and some we can’t wait to introduce you to; and some of the most wonderful comedy ever written – this time with the luxury of a roof, comfy seats and air con!

SkyCity Theatre, Auckland
10 – 25 Feb (in repertory with Romeo & Juliet)
Tickets from $20
Bookings: Eventfinda
Times: various

Viola, a young lady of noble birth, has been shipwrecked off the coast of Illyria, a strange and unfamiliar land. She believes her twin brother Sebastian to have perished in the wreck, and disguises herself as a boy with the assumed name of ‘Cesario’. Under this disguise she enters the service of the governor of Illyria, Duke Orsino, and her first task is to be sent by the Duke to woo the beautiful Countess Olivia on his behalf. Viola herself falls in love with her master, Duke Orsino, but in her disguise as a boy and her position as a servant, she cannot reveal her feelings.

To complicate matters, when Viola, disguised as Cesario, arrives at Olivia’s house on her master’s service, Olivia falls immediately in love with the ‘boy,’ but is also conflicted by the apparent class difference between servant and Countess. Around the same time, Sebastian, Viola’s twin brother who has in fact survived the shipwreck, comes ashore with his friend Antonio, and heads towards Duke Orsino’s court.

Olivia has in her service a steward, or servant, named Malvolio, a man who deeply disapproves of the members of Olivia’s household, especially her cousin Sir Toby Belch, his friend Sir Andrew Aguecheek and the jester (or fool), Feste. Together with Maria, Lady Olivia’s maid, the three create a plot to bully and ridicule Malvolio, playing on his love for Olivia and his social aspirations.

Sir Andrew Aguecheek, ‘a foolish knight’, is deeply in love with Olivia and sees Cesario as a threat. Knowing he is inept at fighting, Sir Toby sets him up to challenge Cesario – who the audience knows to be a girl in disguise and therefore also inept at fighting. Sebastian appears and Sir Andrew confronts him thinking it is Cesario; he then receives a series of serious blows from the mistaken twin. Olivia meets Sebastian and, mistaking him for Cesario, arranges for them both to be secretly married.

Duke Orsino is furious at the apparent falseness of his page (Viola/Cesario), however, with the meeting of the twins, true identities are revealed and Duke Orsino recognises his love for Viola.

Associate Director & Movement Director: Brigid Costello
Fight Director: Alexander Holloway
Vocal Coach: Cherie Moore
Technical Director: Duncan Milne
Scenic Design: Malcolm Dale

Adrian Hooke (Orsino)
Alice Pearce (ensemble)
Alistair Sewell (ensemble)
Ava Rassoul-Khomeini (Viola)
Bala Murali Shingade (Antonio)
Bryony Skillington (Sir Toby Belch)
Frith Horan (Feste)
Kevin Keys (Malvolio)
Kirsty Bruce (Olivia)
Jehangir Homavazir (Valentine)
Natasha Daniel (Maria)
Salesi Le’ota (ensemble)
Tyler Wilson-Kokiri (Sir Andrew Aguecheek)

Pascal Roggen
Shimna Higgins

Theatre , Comedy ,

2 hours (sometimes more depending on what happens on the night)

Actors relish the chance to play high comedy in this slick production

Review by David Charteris 19th Feb 2024

On the replica stage of the Globe in London with audience sitting in two rows each side of the stage, the musicians and players greet the audience as they enter the auditorium and the music leads into the opening lines – ” If music be the food of love, play on.” Adrian Hooke as Duke Orsino speaks these beautifully, as he does with all his lines throughout the whole play, and the first scene is wonderfully directed to set up the rest of the play.

It takes its name from the ‘Twelfth Day’ festivals that were well known for their riotousness and they had an effervescene of continued gaiety which the director David Lawrence draws upon and seamlessly brings to this production.

From the moment Sir Toby Belch (Bryony Skillington) enters the audience is his. Sporting an enormous red cod piece which of course gets many a laugh, Bryony’s characterisation is huge fun and skilfully played. Coupled with Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Tyler Wilson-Kokiri) the duo creates much of the laughter. Wilson-Kokiri’s physical comedy and slapstick is masterful. I will never forget the way he turns into a garden bench!

The acting is of a high standard throughout and it’s obvious the actors are relishing the chance to play high comedy in this slick production.

Alice Sewell as Viola is pure delight. A very mobile face mirrored the turmoil and confusion she faces while hiding her gender dressed as a boy. A boy much fancied.

Kirsty Bruce as Olivia transforms, much to the audience’s pleasure, (and with great skill) from frosty Countess to a shimmering vision of any young heterosexual teenage boy’s dream. Trust me, she did.

Jehangir Homavazir plays Sebastian (Viola’s twin brother. They were separated by a shipwreck. Read the play). With a touch of a buccaneer and very appealing he was too. Great clarity and full understanding of his lines made this a winning performance.

I loved Frith Horan in Romeo and Juliet and loved her hilarious, not quite over the top, performance as Feste the Fool. The play begins and ends with music and Feste sings some of Shakespeare’s most recognisable songs. ’O Mistress mine where are you roaming?’ and ‘When that I was and a little tiny boy’, which Frith sings with an understated enthusiasm, made them an integral part of the show. In other productions I have seen, they jarred.

It has been suggested that the name of this play was first ‘Malvolio’ and you can understand why. 

Kevin Keys, as Malvolio, brings every nuance to this complex character to shining light. Both the letter scene and the cross gartered scene were hilarious but not over played as does happen. His interaction with all the characters gave clarity to the scenes which did get a little muddled sometimes due to over exuberance.

This is a great production with so many fine things happening that if all were explained, would not give you the chance to discover them when you go to see this show. As you must.

I will just say, the mistaken twin’s sword fight had me crying with laughter.


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