William Shakespeare’s comedy “Twelfth Night” is performed for one night in this idyllic outdoor setting.
Shakespeare's greatest and last pure comedy, the play explores the great obsessions of human life: love, jealousy, class, gender, greed and passion.
And if it explores the serious within us it also revels in merriment: drinking has a key place in the play as does song and laughter in all its forms from melancholy wit to slapstick comedy.
The enemy of laughter is the butt of the play's humour: Malvolio the Puritan, a spoil sport in the palaces of fun. Set against Malvolio's malevolence is the swashbuckling joy of Sir Toby Belch, the mischievous servant Maria and the wit of the wise clown, Feste.
No play of Shakespeare has so many characters in what might be called a main role: plots interweave with subplots until we are almost giddy. At the centre of the many deceptions stands Viola, an extraordinary creation, a woman who prefers to be a man and as such provokes a love she cannot return in the Lady Olivia while cultivating an impossible passion for her manly master, Orsino.
Meanwhile her (lost) twin brother Sebastian appears to rouse the passions of one Antonio while accidentally securing the hand of Lady Olivia. Nothing is what it seems: life and love collide and create a comedy of errors that spreads confusion even as it reveals the essential truth of human nature.
The play is performed by TNT, an ensemble of veteran performers, directed by Paul Stebbings and with music added live under the direction of composer John Kenny.