Feb 06

Theatre Calgary presents “dynamic” Twelfth Night

by Jenna Shummoogum · 0 comments

Theatre Calgary’s Twelfth Night is like no other production of the Bard you’ve ever seen. Imagined and created by the Old Trout Puppet Workshop, set in the Baroque era, this production is endlessly entertaining and full of joy. It is mostly performed in front of a proscenium arch on the Maxbell stage. With a playful, talented cast and a playful spin on an old narrative, this is the most fun production of the Shakespearean comedy.

Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night tells of twins Sebastian (Ryan Allen) and Viola (Janelle Cooper) who are separated during a violent storm. They both believe the other to be drowned. With the help of a captain, Viola disguises herself as a man named Cesario and enters the service of Duke Orsino (Tyrell Crews). She winds up falling in love with him, while he is in love with Olivia (Anna Cummer) who is mourning the death of the brother. To complete the triangle, Olivia falls in love with Cesario once she meets him. Meanwhile a bunch of people have concocted a plan to have Olivia’s pompous steward Malvolio (Bruce Dow) believe that Olivia has fallen in love with him. Olivia’s uncle Sir Toby Belch (Doug McKeag) and his friend Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Christopher Hunt), along with Olivia’s servants Fabienne (Julie Orton) and Maria (Kira Bradley), are in on it. Throw in Sebastian’s friend Antonio (Graham Percy) into the mix and you have the makings of mistaken identities and mistaken feelings of love.

Feste (Kaycon Khoshkam) the fool is present throughout the production and he injects charm and humour into the play. He makes it modern, breaking from Shakespeare’s old English and his script. The Old Trouts use puppetry in such unique ways, having the backgrounds drop from the proscenium arch while characters use only certain aspects of puppetry to tell the story. It’s innovative and always keeps the audience engaged.

The play is chock-full of talent, especially Hunt’s Sir Andrew Aguecheek - a riot and a delight every single time he is on stage. Khoshkam’s Feste is funny, crass and a whole lot of fun. Every time Cooper sings, it is a reminder of how strong and lovely her voice is. Orton, Bradley and McKeag have amazing comedic skill and Dow is both an arrogant and hilarious Malvolio.

The Old Trouts, with direction from Jilian Keiley and lighting design by Cimmeron Meyer, have created a delightful version of Twelfth Night. It is colourful, dynamic and a whole lot of fun.

Theatre Calgary’s presentation of Twelfth Night as imagined by the Old Trout Puppet Workshop runs until February 24th. More information is available online.

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