Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Raucous comedy highlights SSC's lively 'Twelfth Night'

Shakespeare Santa Cruz continues to brighten up our foggy coastal summers with imaginative and exciting live theater. The company launches its 31st season with a new production of Twelfth Night, one of Shakespeare's most enjoyable and accessible romantic comedies. Directed by SSC Artistic Director Marco Barricelli, this lively production floods the stage with knockabout farce, yet leaves enough breathing room for moments of poignant reflection on the many ways romantic love can be found—and lost.

Shipwreck survivor Viola (a winsome Lenne Klingaman) lands on the coast of Illyria. Believing her twin brother drowned, she dresses in male clothing for protection and finds employment with the nobleman, Duke Orsino (Tom Gough). Distracted by his unrequited love for the noble lady, Olivia (vivacious Rayme Cornell), Orsino sends Viola, now called "Cesario," to woo the lady on his behalf. Olivia remains unmoved by the Duke's message, but she falls for the messenger, "Cesario." Viola, meanwhile, trapped within her male disguise, has fallen in love with the Duke.

But the highlight here is its boisterous comedy. Vincent Paul O'Connor is hilarious as Olivia's debauched uncle, Sir Toby Belch, canoodling with saucy maid Maria (Shannon Warrick), or consuming a raw egg and tabasco cocktail onstage. William Elsman is absolutely terrific as his foppish cohort, Sir Andrew Aguecheek, commanding every inch of his stage space with his big, yet precise comic gestures and powerful voice. And special kudos to Mark Christine as Feste (above), who handles the clown's witty repartee, and sings and plays guitar with wistful sweetness. (Read more)

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