Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Twelfth Night Theatre Review

Bhavesh Patel stars in Twelfth Night (Photo: Scott Suchman)

Fly Me to Illyria

Lost meets Shakespeare in director Ethan McSweeny's creative Twelfth Night, one of this year's best (and most entertaining) productions. It opens with a literal bang, before delving into a world of mistaken identity, mockery and (of course) romance. Make sure to arrive early, to revel in Lee Savage's lavish set... a bustling airport departure lounge (literally surrounded by audience members) that oozes energy. In fact, I can't recall a better beginning to any production in years. The glad tidings don't stop there. Bhavesh Patel, Heath Saunders and Derek Smith deliver sterling performances that are equal parts colorful and terrific. Saunders is especially brilliant as the musical court jester who "takes pleasure in singing."

202 Words or Less

Unfortunately, the same can't be said for Andrew Weems' irksome Sir Toby Belch, who tortures Smith's Malvolio, while strutting around in a Hawaiian shirt and an ill-fitting robe. If his Nixon impression doesn't kill ya, just wait until he gets his hands on a microphone. Perhaps there's still time for him to dial it down a much-needed notch or two. That said, this is a show worth seeing for its boldness and creativity... even if it does get a bit confusing (and dare I say, mean-spirited) towards the end.


Twelfth Night runs 2¾ hours with a 15-minute intermission, now through December 20 at Sidney Harman Hall (610 F Street, NW.) Tickets start at $25, and are available for purchase online or by calling (202) 547-1122.