Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse
through January 26, 2020
You have to really appreciate what Shakespeare was able to do when it came to bringing insanity and humor to the stage 400 years ago. The show takes place in Illyria, an area in the Balkans and Italy which was known for having been home to some piratical types. A British soldier and author, Barnaby Riche, had written about a confused situation there and it is suggested that it was from his work that The Bard drew the plot line to draft Twelfth Night.
A lot of Shakespear’s humor involved mistaken identities, and one also needs to know that in his days, all female roles were played by men, as acting was not considered appropriate for the fairer sex. And so we have a plot where a brother and sister are shipwrecked and wind up in Illyria but separated from one another and each takes on a false persona, and things start to get more confusing. Duke Orsino (Marlon Burnley) is in love with Olivia (India Tyree). The cast of 16 players includes David Weber as Sir Toby Belch who is Olivia’s uncle, and a bit of a sot. Avery Sharpe plays the sort of Marx brothers type clown, Sir Andrew. Jon Wierenga is Sebastian, brother to Viola (Rachel Frawley). Olivia’s lady in waiting is Maria (Megan Rose) who helps to facilitate the frauds that will be conceived. Malvolio (Jacob York) has a hard time working his way through things; and each and every one of the cast is spot-on, and some of the cast play more than one roll. But, it makes no difference; for the play’s the thing, and if you think you know where things are going, just know this isn’t like Romeo and Juliet or some of the Bard’s other works.
Directed by Jaclyn Hofmann, the show is well presented to a house where most of the folks are enjoying their meals and especially libations. There are a few musical numbers, but don’t worry if you can’t leave the house humming them. For this was years ago when life was allegedly simpler. Well, at least they didn’t have 400+ cable channels and people weren’t killed every day. If you drive down to the theatre, please know that you may park in the medical center garage across the street and you get a discount with your ticket stub. Beats the parking meter rodents who work the street except on Sundays.
And speaking of Romeo & Juliet, know that they’ll be next up, starting on January 31st. How these fine performers can keep all the lines to several shows in their head at one time is sooooo impressive. More info at ShakespeareTavern.com