Monday, 21 February 2011

Twelfth Night (National Theatre)

Disappointing trip to the National Theatre.
It's cheaper than the rest of the West End, it is after all supposed to be the people's theatre, the plays are well chosen and have high production value also there's a good quality of actors- no big names, just big stage talent, so no awful audiences being inappropriate (like at a David Tennant play where Doctor Who fans whoop and cheer when he bends over).
Twelfth Night, it's hard to get it wrong isn't it? It's funny and it's a classic. Peter Hall's Twelfth Night wasn't wrong, but it just wasn't anything special.
The costumes were lovely but if you're going all out on period costumes why not put some thought into the set and the staging? This production would have been fantastic just as it was at The Globe or out in the air, but because it was on an empty square stage in a small theatre it looked cramped at the same time as being bare.
The acting was fine, it was a good ensemble, but it was let down by the leading lady. Rebecca Hall is a beautiful girl. But she is not an androgynous beautiful girl! Giving all the men long hair as well did not make her look any less like a beautiful girl! So yes, her look was wrong, she wasn't Cesario, she was always Viola, but more than that unfortunately, the way she acted it was wrong. She was always grinning and sighing to the audience, her reactions were always the same to everything, she got so passionate for no reasons! It was like watching a sixth form play when she was on. And this is the lead!! Another play with another gimmick to let it down! This time the gimmick was that it was the director's daughter. She was miscast.
Finty Williams, Charles Edwards, Simon Callow and all that lot were all fine as the comedy, that was Twelfth Night, but the romance was lost. Orsino and Olivia both seemed too old and Orsino and Viola had no chemistry, Sebastian was ok when he turned up but the comedy is supposed to be in the confusion, they had gone to too much effort of looking the same and so the fact that their faces were so different made it so obvious that they were not the same person! The last production I saw of this used actors who looked nothing alike but wore the same hat, now THAT is comedy.
I will stick to the BBC film starring Imogen Stubbs in the future. At least she wore a false moustache.

1 comment:

  1. The fact that Malvolio wore his chain on his pajamas was the ONLY joke not written by Shakespeare in this production. Uninventive. But kudos to Simon Paisley Day who probably came up with that gag. His Malvolio was a total arsehole, I didn't mind that he got humiliated.