Some of William Shakespeare’s hilarious and lovable characters are being brought to life in Queensland Theatre’s new production of Twelfth Night, currently playing in the Playhouse – QPAC until 19 May 2018.
A shipwreck sets in motion a wild and whimsical tale of mistaken identities, separated twins, rebellious servants, unrequited love and a pair of ridiculous yellow stockings. After the twelfth night, the land of Illyria will never be the same. Washed ashore and separated from her twin brother, the plucky Viola must learn to survive alone in an exotic foreign country.
Disguising herself as a man, she quickly becomes entangled in a web of amorous pursuits gone awry. As Cupid’s arrows send dukes and countesses running in disastrous directions, a wacky entourage of servants and drunken freeloaders watch on in amusement. All the while, Viola must fight to ensure nothing blows her cover.
Twelfth Night features a roll call of some of the very best Shakespearean specialists, who perform with a live band onstage, under the inspired directorship of Sam Strong. They will bring Shakespeare’s hilarious and ageless characters to life, with the music of Tim Finn providing an unparalleled soundtrack to one of the Bard’s most appealing tales – composing more than 12 new songs for the production.
“Our starting point for this Queensland Theatre production of Twelfth Night is how central music is to the play,” says Strong. Music is at the absolute heart of Twelfth Night. It’s Shakespeare’s most musical play, peppered with songs with his lyrics, beginning and ending with music, and opening with the famous line “if music be the food of love, play on.”
This is Twelfth Night with a musical component much larger than people would’ve seen before – and that musical component just happens to be provided by music legend Mr Tim Finn – his second collaboration with Queensland Theatre after the record-breaking, award-winning and utterly brilliant Ladies in Black.
“I spoke to Tim about writing music for the Shakespearean songs and he said he would have a read,” adds Strong. “What he came back with was so much more than I ever imagined – beautiful versions of the original songs, half a dozen new songs and scenes turned into songs.”
Strong directs a stellar cast of Shakespearean specialists including Liz Buchanan, Sandro Colarelli, Jason Klarwein, Bryan Probets, Colin Smith, and Kevin Spink; triple-threat performers Kat McIntyre, Kurt Phelan, and the acclaimed Christen O’Leary who will be playing a cross-gendered Malvolio.
Jessica Tovey returns to the company following her last year’s tour de force performance in Constellations, as well as her critically acclaimed portrayal of Portia in Bell Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. Known for her work with the Queensland Ballet, acclaimed international set and costume designer Tracy Grant Lord will create the production’s lavish and beautiful world of Illyria.
“We have the cast, the composer and the design to make this as funny as Twelfth Night needs to be, as sexy as Twelfth Night wants to be, as dark as Twelfth Night can be, and as musical as Twelfth Night deserves to be,” concludes Strong.
Director: Sam Strong Featuring: Liz Buchanan, Sandro Colarelli, Jason Klarwein, Kathryn McIntyre, Christen O’Leary, Kurt Phelan, Bryan Probets, Colin Smith, Kevin Spink, Jessica Tovey Musicians: James Dobinson, Alanna Ritchie, Arun Roberts, Dominic Woodhead Composer: Tim Finn Music Supervision/ Orchestration and Arrangements: James Dobinson Designer: Tracy Grant Lord Lighting Designer: Ben Hughes Sound Designer: Michael Waters Assistant Director: Travis Dowling Assistant Designer: Vilma Mattila Stage Manager: Marnie McDonald Deputy Stage Manager: Kat O’Halloran Assistant Stage Manager: Ella Gordon
Playhouse – QPAC, Cultural Precinct, South Bank (Brisbane)
Season continues to 19 May 2018
For more information, visit: www.queenslandtheatre.com.au for details.
Image: Queensland Theatre presents Twelfth Night (supplied)