This week it was hurry off to the always-enticing Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in a relatively accessible Beverly Hills, as compared to fighting the frustrating traffic to go downtown.
On stage for a limited engagement was a retelling,i n a wildly reimagined style, of “Twelfth Night,” one of Shakespeare’s more lighthearted plays, and reason alone appealing to me– as I comment on public radio 97.5 KBU, radiomalibu.net and websites everywhere.
As theatre goers may recall, with a full title of “Twelfth Night, or What You Will,” the play was said to be written as a twelfth night’s entertainment at the close of the Christmas season, and tells the tale of twins separated in a shipwreck. One is a disguised as a boy, who falls in love with a Duke, who in turn is in love with a Countess, and so forth and so on, into a mash up with musical interludes.
That this version of the production was premiered a decade ago at Stratford upon-Avon for the Royal Shakespeare Company and cheered by the London Sunday Times had to be an enticement, and so it was.
Also that this review is aired and posted on Fridays, gives those who might be tempted to go see it, have just four performances, to do so. tonight.
That said, you are cautioned, for this Twelfth Night is like no other , and you are forewarned, as that rave review in the Times declared “ The music is ferocious, fiery and funny: at times, it makes the Stones look like a group of genteel clergymen. This is not a send-up: it’s a celebration-mad, wild, loving and hilarious.”
My one word description is “adventurous.” Another word might be “chaotic.” To be sure, it has its moments, like the vaudeville shows I saw as a youth: some brief acts were great, others a bore.
Actually, the production presented itself, no doubt intentionally, as if still in rehearsal. The actors and musicians milling about, talking to each other and the audience being seated, with one principal actor sipping tea front and center.
Slowly, almost painfully, reluctantly, the play begins, with the famous declaration in the opening speech, “If music be the food of love, play on..” But in this production the line is fumbled, and the actor pauses, and asks for a forgotten word, and the audience shouts back, “love.”
You gotta love it. And you are going to need a lot of love of theatre to enjoy this Twelfth Night at the Wallis.