Shakespeare with a difference

Until 5 January, you have the chance to see Twelfth Night, Melbourne Theatre Company’s latest production. This is a hilarious and upbeat version of the more nuanced comedy Shakespeare wrote. It’s refreshing to see an Australian company treat the Bard with confident irreverence without ditching any of the poetry and drama. And the bright lights and dazzling sets of the Sumner Theatre, Southbank, are breathtaking.

I mentioned in my last post that I was weaned on Shakespeare at the Old Vic in the years leading up to its transformation into The National Theatre. I just wish I had kept the programs. I think Judi Dench, Barbara Jefford and John Neville were in the cast when I saw Twelfth Night around 1960. Or was it the production with Eileen Atkins?

Although those historic performances left such deep and fond memories, I can’t help wondering whether Shakespeare wouldn’t have preferred an energetic, crowd-pleasing production like this. I can just imagine him leaping up to applaud Frank Woodley’s show-stopping Sir Andrew Ague-cheek. Or marvelling at the magic technology had brought to his play.

Read my review of MTC’s Twelfth Night here:

https://www.australianstage.com.au/201811188864/reviews/melbourne/twelfth-night-|-melbourne-theatre-company.html

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