A Night to Remember

Don rose-coloured glasses for ’70s-sheened Twelfth Night

Sir Toby knows how to throw a party in Twelfth Night

Sir Toby knows how to throw a party in Twelfth Night

Don rose-coloured glasses for ’70s-sheened Twelfth NightWith the exception of the not-so-stellar opener Death of a Clown, UVic’s Phoenix Theatre is knocking it out of the park this season. The latest home run comes in the form of their fresh, inventive production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.Traditionally set in the ancient Greek region of Illyria, director Linda Hardy has chosen to move this production to 1970, with delightful results. Not only do Cat Heywood’s costumes (not to mention Kerem Çetinel’s always excellent lighting and Allan Stichbury’s set, which is a re-vamping of the white round used in Yerma) transport us back to shortly after the Summer of Love, composer and musical designer Jeffrey Pufahl has taken us there sonically, using both live (with playing by multinstrumentalist Andrew Gillott) and recorded renditions of notable tunes of the era — and we’re talking early ’70s, so Beatles, not Bee Gees — to add a fun twist to the show.The play starts when the shipwrecked Viola (Sarah Koury), who presumes her twin brother dead, disguises herself as a man named Cesario and joins a band of Hare Krishnas so that she might serve under Ilyria’s ruler, Orsino (Liam Volke). Orsino is attempting to woo the grieving Lady Olivia (Randi Edmundson), and sends Cesario to bring her tidings of his devotion — with unexpected results. Throw in a party-going noble and his mischievous entourage, a snotty servant and a singing fool and you have a classic Shakespeare comedy about mistaken identity and gender-role reversal where everyone lives happily ever after.There are lots of strong performances here; Koury’s Cesario is well-balanced, with his (or her) affection for Orsino occasionally bubbling to the surface but being quickly subdued, with Edmundson and Volke also delivering quality to their leads. But some of the best moments arguably came from the supporting characters and sub-plots. Cobi Dayan as the booze-soaked Sir Toby and Andrew Wade as Olivia’s stuck-up servant Malvolio provide much comic relief. After playing the tormented lead in Yerma, Kesinee Haney gets to play the fool here; she’s one of two alternating actors playing Feste, and was in fine form opening night, both in terms of acting and singing abilities. Director Linda Hardy has added some great physical flourishes to the performances here (having a movement coach in Kaz Piesowocki likely added to this, too) that draw laughs without dipping too far into slapstick territory. The only flourish I didn’t care for was the occasional addition of “far out” and “bummer” to punctuate a passage; it wasn’t necessary and detracted from the script. Other than that, Twelfth Night slipped into the ‘70s surprisingly well.If you’re looking for an entertaining, creative take on Shakespeare that is a feast for the senses, don’t miss this production. And with the world premiere of Daniel MacIvor’s Inside next up in the Phoenix’s season, it seems the winning streak will likely continue.

Twelfth NightTo March 5Phoenix Theatre, UVicTickets $15-$22250-721-8000

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Braden Holtby’s new mask designed in collaboration with Luke Marston and David Gunnarsson. (Mike Wavrecan photo)
Vancouver Island Coast Salish artist unveils new mask for Canucks goalie

Braden Holtby’s new mask features artwork by Luke Marston inspired by the legend of the seawolf

Alan Tudyk stars as Alien Harry Vanderspeigel in the new series Resident Alien (Photo by: James Dittinger/SYFY)
Resident Alien brings Vancouver Island to the small screen with January premiere

Quirky series shot in Ladysmith will air every Wednesday on the CTV Sci-Fi Channel

Comox-based cinematographer Maxwel Hohn’s new documentary captures the lives of Vancouver Island’s coastal wolves. Photo courtesy Maxwel Hohn.
New mini-documentary shot on Vancouver Island echoes the ‘call of the coastal wolves’

Photography heavyweights from B.C. come together for Maxwel Hohn’s second wildlife documentary

The 2021 Victoria Film Festival includes Vancouver Island produced feature film All-in Madonna. The festival looks a bit different this year, but film-lovers can still expect a full and diverse lineup. (Courtesy of VFF)
Victoria Film Festival returns with virtual viewing

Lineup features 50 films including Vancouver Island-produced All-in Madonna

Joy Sharpe holds a picture of her late husband Ray while posing for a photograph with the Sybil Andrews painting ‘hauling’ before donating it to the Campbell River Hospice Society. (Submitted photo)
$6 painting turned into $10,000 charity windfall

A 1952 original Sybil Andrews painting donation fetches Campbell River Hospice Society a nice return

Victoria artist Noah Layne is conducting online workshops on portrait drawing as part of the Metchosin ArtPod’s About Face portrait show. (Photo courtesy of Noah Layne)
Metchosin Art Pod doing an about-face

Renowned artist Noah Layne hosting online classes in portrait drawing

This weekend Amy Pye is holding a virtual book launch for her latest children’s book, <em>Bruce the Silly Goose</em>. (Photo courtesy Amy Pye)
Victoria writer and illustrator pens children’s book about COVID-19 safety

Amy Pye to hold online book launch for ‘Bruce the Silly Goose’

The pantomime ‘Snow White and the 5 Dwarfs’ has been cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Submitted)
Pantomime cancelled in Cowichan due to COVID restrictions

A partnership of the Cowichan Musical Society, the Shawnigan Players, and the Mercury Players.

A rendering shows the entrance planned for the Hornby Island Arts Centre. Image supplied
Work on Hornby Island Arts Centre to start this month

Community worked with award-winning architectural firm on design

Western Edge Theatre artistic director Brian March and local theatre artists Brianna Hamilton and Daniel Puglas (from left) make up Western Edge’s new team of “artistic associates.” (News Bulletin file photos/Courtney Harder)
Nanaimo theatre company adds younger, diverse voices to artistic team

Western Edge hopes new ‘artistic associates’ will help form new ideas, reach new audiences

Sara Lopez Assu says she’s relatively happy with how the Campbell River Art Gallery team managed to weather the storm that was 2020. File Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror
Campbell River Art Gallery director reflects on ‘maybe our hardest year ever’

‘It would be easy to look back and be disappointed … but that’s not going to get us anywhere’

Jean Crowder, former MP for Nanaimo-Cowichan, is the CVPAG honourary chair. (Submitted)
Art gallery group becomes registered charity in step towards realizing Duncan dream

Becoming a registered charity enables the CVPAG to greatly expand its potential donor base

From left to right; Jessica Kelly; Allaina Moore; Ben Rosnau; and Isaiah McAleese. Members of the ECHO Players Youth Group after they performed ‘Words, Words, Words’ by David Ives, in May 2019. (submitted photo)
Qualicum Beach youth theatre group looks at more livestream performances in 2021

Members stay active during pandemic with playwriting competitions and online play readings

Most Read