Date and Venue 15 – 17 & 21 - 24 November 2012, 8pm | North Shore Credit Union Centre for the Performing Arts, Capilano University, North Vancouver
Reviewer Melanie Ewan
Though the crowd was small for an opening night, the theatre bore an air of joviality as ticket holders took their seats before a well-designed and eye-catching set.
The floor of the stage provided a map of Illyria, orienting the audience to the play’s location, while the bulk of the space was filled by a balcony structure adjacent to the inner court of a well to-do home.
To complete the scene a ‘pyrat’
skeleton sat perched in his eternal slump for all to see. The production
was one I had not seen before, yet greatly looked forward to if only
to expand my Shakespearian repertoire.
Within this context, the
play itself presents its audience with a topsy-turvy and rousing plot
to follow. Gender-bending roles and scenes of intoxication and foolery
combined with interesting snippets of meta-theatricality and cast-led
songs create an animated atmosphere throughout the show.
Each character, and their associated actor, brought to the stage their own bit of personality, adding tremendously to the enjoyment of the play. To this end, a main attribute of the performance was the cast itself. They enunciated well (an important feature in a Shakespearian play!), embodied their characters believably, and provided comic relief by way of facial expressions and well played reactions.
Each scene provided
a feast for the eyes, as the actors, whether they were at the center
of attention, moving props, or standing in the background, were always
attentive to their roles and presence on stage.
Another role worth attention
is that of Feste. This fool, who may well be more wise than her employers,
lead a string of songs throughout the show, and twisted her wit in to
each scene she took part in. Paige Fraser did a wonderful job with this
role, maintaining an upbeat tone and pulling off those tongue-twisting
lines with eloquence.
The show is appropriate for most ages, though the intricate and nuanced language may be lost on younger audiences. Additionally, there is a light spattering of sexual innuendos and depictions of violence, though the latter is in the form of an utterly comedic sword battle to end all sword battles where no one really gets hurt (at least not physically).
As there is not room to mention each cast member’s name, suffice it to say that this is a well-put together ensemble whose energy and clear dedication to the production made for an enjoyable evening.
© 2012 Melanie Ewan