Viola and Sebastian are lookalike twins, separated by a shipwreck. Viola lands in Illyria, where she disguises herself like her brother and goes into the service of the Duke Orsino. Orsino ... See full summary »
Viola and Sebastian are lookalike twins, separated by a shipwreck. Viola lands in Illyria, where she disguises herself like her brother and goes into the service of the Duke Orsino. Orsino sends her to help him woo the Lady Olivia, who doesn't want the Duke, but finds that she likes the new messenger the Duke's sending. Then, of course, Viola's brother shows up, and merry hell breaks loose. Meanwhile, Olivia's uncle and his cohorts are trying to find some way to get back at Olivia's officious majordomo, Malvolio. Written by
Twelfth Night as of now is my favourite of Shakespeare's plays, and this is a truly delightful version, tying with Branagh's 1988 adaptation as my favourite of the four versions so far seen(the other being the Nunn film and the hard to find 1987 Australia version, both good). The costumes and sets are charming and very sumptuous as well as some dark tinges to add some dimension to the play(if not as much as Branagh's, which is the most successful at bringing this side out), with the photography suitably skillful. The writing is as witty and funny as ever, and the story still has its charm. Generally I thought the cast were great. Ronnie Stevens' Sir Andrew Aguecheek didn't have to go into falsetto as often as he did, but he was nonetheless amusing. Sinead Cusack is a moving Olivia and Clive Arrindal a dashing Orsino. Annette Crosbie is excellent as Maria and Robert Lindsay is a perfect Fabian as is Robert Hardy as the slovenly and often hilarious Sir Toby Belch. Trevor Peacock is decent as Feste(though I thought Branagh's Feste was more effective), Felicity Kendal is a charming and impish Viola and just about convinces as a boy and Alex McCowen is an obseque and indignant Malvolio. I also want to give this performance credit for making Antonio's desire for Sebastian believable and quite moving, something that could've fallen flat but didn't. Overall, if I had to choose which I just preferred out of this and Branagh's version, I say Branagh just edging it but this is a delightful version regardless. 9.5/10 Bethany Cox
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