Twelfth Night at The Maltings Theatre online
Considered to be the most musical of Shakespeare’s plays, Twelfth Night is a romantic comedy that takes place on the island of Illyria. Holidaymakers indulge in the luxury and sophistication their status affords – symbolised through their vacation – while also being confined by notions of morality – symbolised by the physical boundary of the island and embodied in the puritanical Malvolia.
The Maltings Theatre celebrates Twelfth Night as an interactive, online experience with popular music, fancy dress, masquerade and hedonistic pleasures with a 1920s twist. Illyria becomes the luxurious SS Illyria, taking actors and viewers on board the cruise ship with singing, dancing, a constant flow of alcohol, laughter, mockery and play.
The antagonistic relationship between the debauched and alcoholic Lady Toby Belch (Anna Franklin) and the virtuous, tight-lipped Malvolia (Faith Turner) dramatizes the conflict between convention and change that is best translated to the modern viewer through its 1920s setting. This is a period where women suddenly abandoned restrictive gender definitions that bound their bodies as strictly as the corset that they now set aside in favour of loose clothing with greater mobility. The topsy-turvy festivity of the carnivalesque ritual after which the play is named is presented through the fluidity of gender and sexuality which makes the plot of the Twelfth Night. Viola (Flora Squires) dresses as her twin Cesario whom she believes to have died. When reaching out to Olivia (Emma Watson) to deliver the message of love from Duke Orsino (Will Forrester), the confusion begins as Olivia falls in love with Viola/Cesario instead.
The interactive experience, live music and popular songs from Britney Spears, Rihanna, and Radiohead make this version of Shakespeare’s much-loved play extremely exciting. The trick played on Malvolia that causes her humiliation and subsequent fall from high moral ground is funny and very touching, and Squires delivers a highly enjoyable performance.
Photo: Lou Morris
Twelfth Night is available to stream from The Maltings from 19th June until 10th July 2020. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.
Watch the trailer for Twelfth Night here: