Mar. 24th, 2017

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I knew that what the Filter Theatre was putting on was not going to be your conventional Twelfth Night, but I wasn't sure exactly what I was going to get.

It didn't begin well. On an undecorated stage with equipment sitting around, a jazz combo played boring jazz music for too long, and then Orsino, who'd been conducting them for a while (I kept hoping his gestures were going to mean "stop"), speaking into a microphone, began his first line like this:

"If ...

If music ...

If music be ...

If music be the ..."

And so on, and on, and on. It's going to be a long night, I thought.

But it got better. As Viola comes on stage, a transistor radio is emitting a weather report. When she asks, "What country is this?" it's the voice on the radio that replies, "This is Illyria, lady." That was funny. Then she borrows a man's coat and hat from the audience to disguise herself. (Yes, really: I saw her give them back after the show was over.)

Toby, Andrew, and Maria's night-time carousing took the form of a musically-accompanied carnival, including audience participation in nerf-ball fights and a conga line. This went on very long, but it made Malvolio's furious shutting down of the party all the funnier.

On the other hand, there was nothing in the least bit imaginative or clever about the duel or the reunion scene.

Finished up the play in 90 minutes without intermission. Parts were tedious - too many and too much for such a short show - but parts were pretty good.

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