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Twelfth Night by SRT

May 5, 2012
by

Event: Shakespeare in the Park : Twelfth Night
Run: 25 Apr-20 May 2012
Venue: Fort Canning Park
Directed by: Bruce Guthrie
Cast:  Adrian Pang, Rebecca Spykerman, Keagan Kang, Shane Mardjuki, Seong Hui Xuan, Neil McCaul, Daniel Jenkins, Vicky Williamson, Andy Tear, Jon Cancio, Tan Shou Chen

My first outing to Shakespeare at the Park! And it was great the weather held up such that it didn’t dampen opening night.

On first entering the performance area, you can’t help but notice the elaborate set with its yacht (!), waves (quite realistic, even with high & low tides), sandy beach and castle front. I think the set itself is worth looking at.

I’m not familiar with the text of Twelfth Night, having only read an abridged version. What I can recall was that it was about mistaken identities, which is what drives the story in the comedic, but all’s well that ends well ending.

Maybe as it was my first Shakespeare in the Park, it took me a little while to warm up to the open setting and get focused on the show with the different acoustics of the area. The quickened pace in the second act, where most of the humour occurred, rectified that a bit.

The highlight for the night was Adrian Pang’s melodious and melancholic renditions when he was tasked to entertain with songs as Feste, “the fool”. It garnered applause each time without fail. We were duly mesmerized. One doesn’t really get to hear him sing such genre or in this manner in other productions that I’ve watched. Daniel Jenkins was great sport too as Malvolio, the snooty and pompous steward who was much the butt of jokes. These seasoned actors brought much life to the show and easily stole the stage from the rest of the cast. The playful Sir Toby and Maria, played by Neil McCaul and Vicky Williamson respectively were also rather lively, despite Sir Toby’s excessive drunkenness. In fact, I felt the comic sub-plot dominated the show. Other than that, you could spot some minute disparities in terms of experience and skill, especially among the younger cast. A friend of mine commented on the various accents and articulation styles we could hear, which was probably not helped much with the Shakespearean text. However, with it being only opening night, I guess the cast would get themselves more acquainted and practiced in the execution of the play. Indeed, the treatment could have been less subdued, given the original reference to the revelry of the festival of Twelfth Night. I felt the role of Viola could have been brought out more feisty, animated and stronger in character, especially when she took most of the time on stage. On the other hand, Olivia might have seemed a little too girlish from what I expected.

As for the sound, one couldn’t help but notice the musicians perched on a separate scaffold structure at the the side. One couldn’t really see them as they were shielded from our eyes, but hear them we could, though it felt a little precarious on a slope, gentle as it may be. One unfortunate matter was that the music was a bit loud at points, especially at the bar scenes, so it was a tad harder when we tried to listen to what the actors were saying in those scenes. I guess it’s more difficult to get it right in such a space. I was also slightly distracted by the ongoing band activity at Timbre, which we could hear from the Park, but that can’t be helped.

Well, if you want a peek into Shakespeare, Twelfth Night might do the trick if you prefer something light and less text-heavy.

The show runs till 20 May. Tickets can be bought via sistic.com.sg.

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