The Hartford Stage is
presenting a unique version of “Twelfth
Night,” a comedy written by
William Shakespeare in 1600. The superb and flexible cast
costumed by Linda Cho is directed by
Darko Tresnjak with a quirky, crazy humor that borders on
hysteria. But it is the stunningly verdant set
designed by Alexander Dodge, concentric circles of
thick grass which cover the entire stage, that
amazes. Separated by small wooden bridges, they provide a
playground for the characters to play upon, with surprises galore.
Kate McCluggage, who was so beautiful and brilliant in “Bell, Book and Candle” is an elegant Viola, the twin who takes on a
masculine identity. Stacey Yen is sensual and lovely as Olivia; her suitor,
Orsini, is the adorable Lea Cates. Bruce Turk's Malvolio, who suffers,
suffers and suffers in yellow tights, is
best in show. Michael Spencer-Davis wearing flowing blue robes is the ever-energeticSir Toby Belch. Che Ayende is an excellently
spoken Feste, the Harlequin jester. The charming song by Nathan A. Robert that
he delivers at the end of the showwas
truly prophetic. As Feste sings about rain and wind, thunder rumbled and rain
poured outside on the night we attended!
The only fault I can find with this production is that when
the cast members turned away from the audience, they could not be heard.
“Twelfth Night” is
a joyous romp at the Hartford Stage! Through June 16.