Everyman Theatre, Liverpool
March 8 – April 5, 2014
Author: William Shakespeare
Director: Gemma Bodinetz
Producer: Everyman Playhouse
Cast : Matthew Kelly, Paul Duckworth, Pauline Daniels, Nicholas Woodeson, Adam Keast, Natalie Dew, Jodie McMcNee, Alan Stocks, David Rubin, Luke Jerdy, Adam Levy, Robin Morrissey, Neil Caple.
Running Time: 3 hrs 30 mins
When Edmund Blackadder’s manservant can’t stop giggling over the sight of a phallic shaped turnip, the curmudgeonly Elizabethan Lord intones: “Oh shut up, Baldrick. You’d laugh at a Shakespeare comedy,” thereby implying that the playwright is about as funny as – well – a non-phallic shaped turnip.
Edmund, however, should have seen this production of Twelfth Night, as this would have undoubtedly changed his mind and the anticipation of entering the brand new auditorium of the new Liverpool Everyman Theatre is more than bettered by the performances provided on stage.
Pauline Daniels and Paul Duckworth are both superb in their roles as Feste the Fool and Maria, the founder of this particular feast of consequences for Malvolio, played superbly well here by Nicholas Woodeson. Matthew Kelly as a delightfully drunken Sir Toby Belch, Alan Stocks as not-so-holy Fabien and Adam Keast are also excellent in their roles of ridiculous ribaldry and revelry.
Yet, this is to be expected, given the ensemble’s experience and their affiliation for the old Everyman Theatre where they first cut their teeth. What of the new generation?
Jodie McNee’s Viola / Cesario is a delight; Luke Jerdy’s Sebastian is outstanding; Adam Levy’s Orsino is captivating ; Robin Morrissey’s Valentine a tip to the future and a nod to his acting heritage.
However it is Natalie Drew’s Olivia which really should take the headlines, as her hers is performance of such oxymoronic helter-skelter control, it is almost impossible not to fall in love with her naiveté and if the new Everyman should be supporting anything at all it should surely be the nurturing of such obvious talent.
Play on indeed and the lighting, the props, the scenery changes, the ambient sounds and the music – as do the much comfier seating which has been installed, particularly for shows of such marathon length – all provide additional layers to what is already a winning production.