From its origins as a midwinter carnival of misrule, Twelfth Night has always been a play that strikes a note of anarchic fun. Never was this more the case than in the Senior School production that played to packed houses on two nights at the end of November.
The joy of this production consisted in the play’s wonderful, pell-mell collision of laughter and sadness. We were swept from moments of poignancy such as Sir Andrew’s woeful admission that, ‘I was adored once, too’ and Feste’s Song (set to music by Year 13 Gigi) to the sublime comedy of Year 10 Olivia’s Malvolio, as he sought to woo his mistress with crossed garters, Sir Toby’s drunken defence of his right to cakes and ale or the mistaken identity that so perplexes Olivia (poignantly captured by Year 12 Klaudia) in the play’s denouement.
Throughout, the production reminded us that cruelty and punishment are never far from the surface where love and power are concerned. And yet, this tension lent the whole production a wonderful dynamism that was fulfilled in the play’s closing moments as we saw the couples happily united while Malvolio was left alone on-stage to utter his famous, final oath to ‘be revenged on the whole pack of you.’ A memorable Twelfth Night, indeed.