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Twelfth Night Review

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TWELFTH NIGHT REVIEW Trevor Nunn's Twelfth Night is a performance of a Shakespearean comedy about twin siblings, Viola (Imogen Stubbs) and Sebastian (Steven Mackintosh), which are aboard a ship that is wrecked off the coast of the country of Illyria. Although both escape the disaster, they are separated, and each believes the other to be dead. Viola decides to disguise herself as a man under the name of Cesario, in order to protect herself, and goes to work as a servant in Count Orsino's (Toby Stephens) court. Orsino is madly in love with a young countess, Olivia (Helena Bonham Carter), who constantly refuses his love. Orsino sends Viola to woo Olivia in his name but Olivia immediately falls for Viola/Cesario, while, at the same time, Viola realizes that she is in love with Orsino. There is also a sub-plot, where Olivia's drunken uncle, Sir Toby Belch (Mel Smith); her maid, Maria (Imelda Staunton); Sir Toby's stupid -but rich- friend, Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Richard E. ...read more.


As to the theme of love, this is also very well portrayed since all the characters involved with love are very convincing when showing it (Orsino being in love with the idea of being in love, or Viola's sincere love for Orsino- ''Yet a barful strife! Whoe'er I woo, myself would be his wife''- Viola, Act1 Scene4) Generally, the personalities of the characters in the performance are quite similar to the ones you can find in Shakespeare's play. However, there are some exceptions. For example, Orsino, who is very impulsive, exaggerated and presumably in love with Olivia, constantly shows that he likes Viola/Cesario, although he believes that Viola is a man. There is even one scene where Viola and Orsino nearly kiss!! So there is a kind of homosexual connotation in the film, which probably makes it be better, as it leaves the audience constantly thinking whether Orsino will end up with Olivia, or will end up having a gay relationship with Cesario! ...read more.


Instead, the atmosphere is more on the romantic side, and on the melancholic side every time Malvolio is present. However, when Malvolio leaves, at the end of the film, after having been '' notoriously abused'', the other characters have a big, fancy, bright party! So, clearly Malvolio's presence worsens the other characters' moods! Finally, this performance is very effective in portraying key events in the plot, such as Viola's disguise, the trick played on Malvolio, the confusion between Sebastian and Viola, and the different kinds of love that exist. However, at the same time it tries to make the film more appealing by introducing modern themes such as homosexuality. Personally, I disliked Shakespeare's play when I read it because I thought it was ever so far from being funny! But, I must say that I enjoyed this film a lot and would with no doubt recommend it to those of you who consider Shakespeare's play boring, because it certainly gives a more modern and interesting perspective than the written play. ...read more.

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  1. Cruelty in "Twelfth Night" - an examination of Shakespeare's comedy's darker side.

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