Friday, 10 July 2015

The Twelfth Night @The Actors Church / @IrisTheatre #iris12thnight


A Shakespearean Play set in an Actual Garden in the heart of the City with multiple locations and the audience moving around the garden with the actors? Whats not to love about that?

The minute I heard about the concept (from Anne Marie's twitter feed - We LOVED her in These Trees are Made of Blood), I knew we had to catch this play.

And so we found ourselves on a Friday evening, among a select group of people with access to St Paul's Church (also known as The Actors Church) in Covent Garden, while others contented themselves with street performers in the piazza.

The play by Iris Theatre was set out in 6 locations across the church and the gardens, each one more atmospheric than the other.

The Twelfth Night is a typical Shakespearean comedy with mistaken identities and love triangles / quadrangles etc. We had watched a recording of the play performed at The Shakespeares Globe on Star Arts, but that was so pale and insipid compared to this version.

This version, directed by Vik Sivalingam was light and airy and fun and even the young kids in the audience seemed to be loving Shakespeare. The music by Anne Marie Piazza and Nick Howard Brown was perfect at setting the atmosphere. The open air settings, the fairy lights, the minimalistic sets, the gorgeous church.

The cast was stellar - Anne Marie as Maria, Nick Howard as Feste, Henry Wyrley-Birch as Sebastian /Aguecheek, Pepter Lunkuse as Viola, Olivia Onyehara as Olivia, Tony Bell as Malvolio, Robert Maskell as Sir Toby and Julian Moore-Cook as Orsino.

I loved the costumes and how beautifully they were transformed from clothes that could be worn on the streets today with just a few touch ups.

I would heavily recommend this play to everyone, especially if you believe that Shakespeare is too heavy to enjoy.

And in case you were wondering why St Paul's Church in Covent Garden is called the Actor's Church :
It was designed by Inigo Jones in 1633 and is regarded as the masterpiece and focal point of his piazza. Inigo Jones was an architect, but also a set and costume designer to the court. Hence the name.

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