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Time Out Theater Review: 'Twelfth Night'

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Two-time Tony Award winner Mark Rylance is currently starring in both "Twelfth Night" and "Richard III" in rep on Broadway. Time Out New York's David Cote filed the following review of "Twelfth Night."

Some of us discovered Shakespeare in our youth as a burst of enchanting lyricism and magical storytelling. Well, Shakespeare's Globe makes me feel like a kid again. The London troupe is presenting their Elizabethan-style "Twelfth Night" and "Richard III," with historically researched costumes, candles and music. It's a classic comedy and a bloody tragedy in their pure Shakespearean glory.

Director Tim Carroll, working with a versatile all-male cast headed by Mark Rylance, blows the dust off "Twelfth Night," the wistful comedy about a cross-dressed twin, mismatched lovers and a hoodwinked butler in yellow stockings. Stephen Fry, a national treasure in England, takes on the latter role of Malvolio, gracing the puritanical sourpuss with his inherent teddy-bear sweetness but still bringing the requisite pomposity. Samuel Barnett makes for a pert and droll Viola, who disguises herself as a man to serve Count Orsino, whom he, er, she, secretly adores. Orsino, meanwhile, pines after noble, prickly Olivia.

The performances are pitched perfectly between light comedy and pensive melancholy, period formality and a more modern looseness. Rylance tempers his usual zaniness for Olivia, who goes from chilly to adorably lovestruck. Paul Chahidi's scheming servant, Maria, is dryly droll. And there's something touchingly plaintive in Peter Hamilton Dyer's deadpan clown, Feste. From the initial ceremonial candle lighting to the final jig, this "Twelfth Night" will leave you breathless with laughter and giddy with joy.

If you love Shakespeare, you will adore this so-called original practices "Twelfth Night," which reminds us why the Swan of Avon is considered the greatest playwright who ever lived. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP