7th December 16
Opening boldly enough with a storm scene involving bolts of cloth flung precipitately over the balconies (well done Darcy Jack and Stan Spark) –the twins torn from each other’s arms by tethers thrown around their waists by various fractured Festes, Chris Chambers production was a surprise and a delight. The poetry is beautiful and Mischa Alexander’s Orsino, gestured and postured beautifully in a golden gown accompanied by the strains of the harpsichord, Olivia (Betty Liang) was pert and quite lovely in a series of glorious costumes and attended by Malvolio with a parasol the perfect Oriental courtesan. She seemed completely at ease both with her own beauty and the stage, never losing pace or pitch and later she was matched by the extraordinary talent of Lorenzo Niyongabo as Sebastian. But the laurels have to go to the comic subplot- the 3 Festes in lycra motley boldly led by Chris Mitchell with Ria Javed, the haunting songs of Emina Curic and the slapstick comedy of Sir Toby Belch and Sir Andrew Aguecheek. Anselm Gigglberger a rake from a Restoration comedy, postured from the stage left, Sir Toby (Max Currer) roistered from stage right, Maria ( Alexandra Konstinova) led them in their mad capering and all prepared for Malvolio’s scene stealing performance in the garden. A word about Devan Naude (Malvolio) I have never been so persuaded and so moved by the grand delusion of a steward who dreamed of being a Count, and taking his proud and lovely mistress to his bed. I have never been so delighted by the sight of yellow stockings cross gartered, by his stage hand kissing by his righteous fury at the taunting he receives at the hands of Sir Toby. His swelling accents dominated the stage, his pain and longing darkened the play, it is the birth of a great actor I think.
Peter Hopkins provided lovely musical accompaniment (and it is a musical play) and came on gorgeously accoutred to assist in the last performance with Michael Brett as a papal priest (what Catholic delivery). There are many others who performed and assisted (Jess Ellet with the lights) too many to mention. I loved it so much I watched all three performances including the dress rehearsal. I gave up a Late Night at the Tate and dragged my daughter to the last. If it was put on again I would watch it again. It was quite simply superb.
Cathy David, Director of Studies and Tutor in English and Classics.