Ahead of Filter Theatre’s performances of Twelfth Night at Warwick Arts Centre from Tue 25 Feb – Sat 1 Mar, Christine and Sinéad from the Marketing team headed to the Oxford Playhouse for a sneak preview of the show…
First things first: Filter’s Twelfth Night is not your average Shakespeare adaptation. Loose, free-form and fun, this production is all about the music. Before the show starts, we see a stage filled with a complicated set up of instruments, from a great big double bass to keyboards, a full drum set, and many musical gadgets.
The multi-tasking actors are given ample room to show their talents, juggling multiple roles, instruments, songs and dance. It can get a bit chaotic up onstage, but it’s all part of the joy of live performance, and the cast pull it-off with aplomb.
Recognisable verse from Shakespeare’s mistaken identity comedy is maintained, but mixed with a decidedly 21st Century outlook, ramping up the ribald humour in a manner that wouldn’t be out of place on your average Saturday night out. There’s drunken revelry from Sir Toby Belch (rarely seen onstage without a can in his hand) and he leads the charge with songs and game-show style interludes. The actors invite the audience to join the fun and chaos. Participation isn’t mandatory, but it sure is infectious.
In the midst of all of this, the production stays true to Shakespeare’s tale, accurately conveying the melancholy of unrequited lovers, and the mad things that we all do when falling head over heels.
Like a beatific night out where the words and the music descend into merry chaos, Twelfth Night is Shakespeare as jazz: loose, chaotic and thoroughly enjoyable.