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By Jarrod• 31 Jan 2015
During last year’s New Zealand Fringe Festival, Bright Orange Walls staged an acclaimed rendition of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This year they present another Shakespearean comedy, Twelfth Night.
To fit their venue - re.SPACE, a new art space on Victoria Street - Bright Orange Walls imagine the nobility of the original play as artists and fashionistas, a translation which in some cases works wonderfully (with some highly inventive fight scenes, for example) and in others doesn’t quite hit the mark (in the case of an ‘artwork’ which takes shape during the course of the plot).
However, any quibbles about the fitness of the setting fade in the background, such is the success of the production overall. Their Twelfth Night is light, well-paced, and, perhaps most importantly, extremely funny. Freya Sadgrove’s startlingly good portrayal of Feste is of particular note; she imbues the fool with just the right combination of knowing and madness. In fact the cast is consistently excellent; all show real comedic talent here, both verbal and physical.
Director Samuel Phillips and dramaturg Lori Leigh have delivered an ideal modern take on a Shakespearean work. It’s accessible and understandable; their actors aren’t fighting the script or struggling with sometimes difficult language but instead embodying their roles, and in the process delivering real meaning, and genuinely engaging with the audience throughout.
In fact, there’s only one real complaint to be had about this Twelfth Night: if you’re going to ask people to sit in one place for two hours (without an interval) then it would be good to provide something more comfortable to sit on than a backless school chair - even if your production is worth suffering for.
Twelfth Night (Eventfinda)