However I was intrigued by the Ad Hoc Players promise of a punk version of Twelfth Night, so went along to The Brentwood Theatre last week to see what they had to offer.
The costumes (including hair and makeup), music choices and stripped back appearance of the stage area fit the punk feel well, the text and general feel of the piece still felt traditionally Shakespeare, and I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the two elements.
The cast of 12, all did a great job. Clearly each member of the cast had thought about their character(s) and brought interesting elements to the performance, commanding the stage and holding the audience.
Lindsay Lovell's interpretation of Viola/Cesario was soft and reserved and matched Andrew Sprong's interpretation of Sebastian, her 'twin'. The matching costumes worked to give the illusion of being twins, although as an audience member it was a serious suspension of disbelief when other characters mistook them for each other. I particularly enjoyed Lindasy's facial expressions when she was being 'hit on' by Olivia, played by Chloe Phillips. Chloe's interpretation of Olivia throughout most of the show was really icy and her resting b*tch face was well played.
Martin Wilderspin had great stage presence as Orsino, but really came into his own when he softened later on recognising Viola/Cesario as the female she really was. His facial expressions and little head movements added humour to the role.
The drunken duo of Sir Andrew Aguecheek, played by Joe Fielding, and Sir Toby Belch, played by Gary Catlin, were incredibly funny and very distinct in their characters. Gary's seemingly endless supply of little bottles of alcohol, along with his pausing, belching and stumbling, were well placed but occasionally bordered on being over the top. Joe came into his own during the fighting scenes with Cesario and Sebastian - I did enjoy seeing the crane kick executed.
Joining them in the trickery of other characters was Hilary Martin as Maria, a role she played extremely well, and Wendi Sheard as Feste, the fool. Wendi played her role very well and I enjoyed her singing, especially as the show progressed - having her sing at the end of the show was a great way to end.
Another key role is that of Malvolio, the charatcer who is tricked, and was played by Talv Bansal who commanded the stage well. His movements, costumes and shift from uptight to fanciful acting worked well for the character.
Completing the line up was Paul Tuner as Valnetine, Michael McFarlane as Captain and Priest, and Paul Gannery as the very imposing Antonio.
As with all Shakespeare, people are often looking for new interpretations and different ways to approach the text. The Ad Hoc Players definitely had a different approach that worked well, did not deter from the original text and meant they put on a great performance of a classic show with a twist, which made for an enjoyable evening's entertainment.