Review of "Twelfth Night" as performed by The New American Shakespeare Tavern
Veronika Duerr as Viola and Jeff McKerley as Malvolio
The comedy "Twelfth Night" is one of Shakespeare's comedy that I have never either seen nor read before now. But when this play opened up last week, I decided it was high time to correct that oversight and to introduce my kids, 10 and 13, to Shakespeare. I have been to the Shakespeare Tavern downtown only once before, and I love "Irma Vep" so much I saved the ticket stub. But would they do a reasonable Shakespeare?
We arrived early, per instructions at "How It Works" on the website, and waited a few minutes to be seated in the main area. Once seated, we grabbed a quick dinner (they serve an interestingmenu) of Rainy Day Tomato Soup and Cornish Pasty, then we discussed what to expect from the play.
A little while later, the magic started!
While the actors speak in an older dialect of English, we understood what was going on, with both of my kids asking only a minimal of questions regarding plot. The costumes, the props, the music - all of this only enhanced the superb acting from the entire cast. Feste, the fool, was the hands down favorite, with Malvolio a close second. An unforeseen highlight was a rude woman who walked in front of the stage during a scene with Malvolio. The actor watched her walk out of the tavern area, made a funny comment, then kick with his feet, mimicking a dog covering up his excrement.
All of the actors were phenomenal - Viola, Olivia, Orsino, Sebastian, Antonio, Maria, Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, Fabian, Feste, and of course, Malvolio - I will potentially have problems watching them in other roles, since they are now ingrained in my mind and memory as the cast of "Twelfth Night". I only say "potentially" though because they will undoubtably portray other characters with the same skill, and I will once again swear never to see them differently.
The first question my kids asked after the play was, "Can we see it again? And bring friends?" The second question was "Can we see more plays here?"
Bravo, Shakespeare Tavern! You have begun converting the younger generation from video gamers to Shakespeare lovers. Take a bow - you deserve it.