***** Review: Twelfth Night

UoB graduates put on an incredible performance of ‘Twelfth Night’ in Stratford

 

Last year, two UoB graduates, Christa Harris and Lucy Lee started up their own theatre company, The Chrysalis Collective.

As part of the Royal Shakespeare Company Open Stages, they put on their debut production of Twelfth Night at the Bear Pit Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Olivia, Viola and the hilarious Maria

The acting in this production was impeccable. Lucy Lee, who played Olivia and co-founded the company, effectively portrayed the stern countess in her earlier scenes, however when she fell in love with Viola (the excellent and amusing Phoebe Brown) she displayed a softness of character and brought more humour to the role, displaying her versatility as an actor.

In an interesting directorial decision, Christa Harris allowed Olivia to discover that Viola was in fact a woman early on in the play, so she was aware that she had romantic feelings for another woman. However, Harris said that this was to emphasize the theme of forbidden love, rather than an “exploration of lesbianism”.

Man? Woman? I still love you!

For someone who has already seen several professional productions of Twelfth Night, I can honestly say I was not disappointed in the slightest. Set in the 1950s, this performance was full of music, dancing and beautiful costumes. There was a live band on stage, who also acted throughout the show. The musical director, Hal Geller was also the lead guitarist and played the role of Antonio! Bill Pasterfield, who played Orsino, was also the drummer of the band. The play really seemed to lend itself to having a live band, with lines such as ‘if music be the food of love, play on’ directed at the musicians.

Sebastian and Olivia looking loved up

This may seem a rather boring compliment, but I feel like I have to mention the slickness of the scene changes. Slow and clunky scene changes are something that can really make a production look amateur. However, the ones in this production were filled with ‘50s style dancing and music, which made it look extremely professional and kept the audience entertained throughout. Similarly, the band kept playing during the interval and Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Christopher Neels) struck up conversation with audience members before the show and remained in character in the interval, drunkenly stumbling around the corridors of the theatre.

Count Orsino on the drums

'If music be the food of love...'

The comedy of the play was brought to the forefront, with the drunkard Sir Toby Belch (Bernard Hall), Maria (Charlie Reilly), Sir Andrew Aguecheek and Feste (Chazz Redhead). Redhead frequently joined the band to sing and Reilly performed the wonderful, ‘Why Do Fools Fall In Love?’ as an encore. Redhead sported some hilarious costumes, at one point he seemed to be dressed as a gardener/scarecrow, which certainly added to the humour of the play. And of course, the scene where Malvolio (Keith Maddern) tries to flirt with Olivia, while dressed in yellow stockings and cross garters had the audience in stitches.

Malvolio getting stitched up

A very alarmed Olivia

Twelfth Night was performed 13th-17th May 2014.

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Fundraise to the finish line: UoB student driving to Mongolia for charity

Three students plan a crazy mission to drive to Mongolia, all in the name of charity

 

Three students, including Rhys Briggs, a third year UoB English Literature student, are raising money for Cool Earth and St David’s Hospice Care.

In order to raise the funds, the boys will be driving from the UK to Ulaan Baatar, the capital of Mongolia. Instead of taking an easy approach in a 4×4, they intend to make this journey in a ’93 Nissan Micra, (and come out of it alive!)

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Speaking to The Tab, Briggs said: “for some strange reason, this summer, we have decided to partake in the annual charitable event called the Mongol Rally.

“We will be attempting to drive across 1/3 of the planet, cross the borders of up to 20 countries and travel through a total of 8 time zones covering over 10,000 miles all in all.

“This will be done in the most unsuitable car with no modern technological navigation or communication aids. We are doing it not only for an incredible chance to see some of the wonders that this world has to offer but for great charitable causes. Will we survive? Who knows..”

Sion Thomas and Robert Morgan are joining Briggs on his crazy mission. Together, the boys have named their team ‘The Smart Casuals’.

empire strikes back Ken Lau

So far, the students have raised over £270, but their overall goal is £1000. Half of this will go to Cool Earth and the other half to their chosen charity.

The students’ choice, St David’s Hospice Care is committed to providing bespoke, individual care for all their patients and their families. They work alongside patients and hope to support them at the most difficult times in their lives.

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To help them reach their target, sponsor the boys by clicking here.

You can also follow their progress on Twitter.

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