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Malvolio the star in RSC's Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night, RSC, Stratford

Twelfth Night, RSC, Stratford

I CONFESS I was surprised that this production started with two men mumbling verse about Arctic drills.

As it turns out, the pair weren’t actors, but rather people protesting about BP’s sponsorship of the World Shakespeare Festival.

Having sung their piece and received a rather suspicious round of applause from a woman near the front, the pair were ushered off and the play started properly.

The story, set in a hotel-esque setting, gives a new twist to some of the best-known scenes.

Malvolio (a pitch-perfect Jonathan Slinger) dons not just yellow stockings but suspenders and a posing pouch - a get-up which clearly causes him some discomfort, as he shuffles round the stage.

Sir Andrew Aguecheek was also great value, Bruce Mackinnon playing him as a sort of Shakespearian Rik Mayall.

But the main plot lost out to the servants’ sideshow and I felt it was only in the second half that the performance came to life.

David Irwin

 

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