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Review: Theatre

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night

Citizens Theatre, Glasgow

Neil Cooper

When Shakespeare wrote the lines that opens his island-set rom-com: "If music be the food of love, play on, give me excess of it," it's unlikely that he envisaged a free jazz cacophony to accompany Orsino's attempts to make order of the words he's just plucked from the air, all while sipping a cup of tea. Yet that's exactly how Sean Holmes' long-running production of Twelfth Night begins, in an audacious sound-led production for the inventive Filter company.

What follows is a fast-moving 90-minute romp more akin to 1980s alternative cabaret or the sort of comic free-for-alls pioneered by the late Ken Campbell's Roadshow, but which somehow manages to keep the essence of its source intact.

So the storm is reported on the Shipping Forecast and heard on a transistor radio, while clothes and hats are borrowed from the audience to allow Sarah Belcher's shipwrecked Viola to transform herself into Cesario.

There is a contest of sorts as the audience attempt to lob bobbles on to Aguecheek's Velcroed-up head-gear, while the entire front row are led on stage in a conga prior to a pizza delivery and a tequila tasting. Fergus O'Donnell's lust-driven Malvolio, meanwhile, strips down to a pair of tight golden pants to accompany his yellow socks.

The show is performed by a cast of six who augment the live band that play Tom Haines and Ross Hughes's live score. This is deconstruction at its most appealingly madcap which ends with a quasi-swing finale that suggests the party has only just begun.

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