Twelfth Night

Theatre, Drama
Butterfly theatre perform Shakespeare's hilarious mistaken-identity play in the St James Theatre studio over an hour at lunchtime. Aileen Gonsalves and Ed Hulme's co-direct this abridged version to which you can take your packed lunch or buy your own from the theatre.


Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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Terrific way of spending a lunch hour - and for a price not far off that of a couple of lattes and a sandwich in MacStarbucks a Manger. Had always been rather hung up on this play as I remember studying this Shakespeare comedy at school when I was about twelve and being more confused than amused. But overcame that to buy a ticket. Somehow it all made perfect sense in this neatly distilled version and I soon found myself not wanting it to end. A particularly magnificent be-kilted prig of a Malvolio.

I have been to see all of the lunchtime plays at St James Theatre (except one because I couldn't get out of the office for the day that I'd booked tickets - I was unable speak to anyone for at least an hour because I was so upset about it) and I can see this being the case in the foreseeable future. We've all heard of Twelfth Night but, actually, who really knows what it's about? On the off-chance you won't like it (Shakespeare isn't everyone's bag afterall) seeing a somewhat shorter version of only 45 minutes is a perfect taster. Then, should you want more (and, frankly - I'm not sure you will) then you can go and watch the whole hog next time it's on in London. This performance didn't start as strongly as the others that I have seen but after the first five minutes it picked up pace and went from strength to strength. We transformed from not having the foggiest what was going on (it can't just have been me?) to being totally involved and not wanting it to end at all (and not just beacuse that means...back to work). The plot is far too twisted to explain and if I did, it would ruin it for you but, it's very, very funny and incredibly smartly acted. The direction must be something of a genius too in order to absorb the audience so fully with no props, the actors plonked on the side of the stage when not involved and condensing an otherwise fairly long play into a lunch break. There was no weak link, all the actors were great and apart from churning out a bit more humour and a little less confusion in the first five minutes, I definitely wouldn't change a thing about it. Even the standard "yucky" love bits weren't too "yucky" - which is always a bonus when you're trying to eat a sandwich at the same time.