The Twelfth Night at the Belasco Theater comes to New York via London featuring the all-male cast from Shakespeare’s Globe Theater of London. This year a number of Shakespearean plays were updated to appeal to a modern audience but this production, which strives for the authenticity of a 17th production, feels innovative and fresh.
You enter the theater to the sound of Renaissance instruments playing Renaissance music. The actors are already on stage. They are in character and interact with the audience in the theater and with those seated on stage in specially built seating. We watch them dress in costumes designed by Jenny Tiramani who tried to make them as authentic as costumes made by Elizabethan tailors– the fabrics to the construction of the garments. The lighting on stage is enhanced by chandeliers with real candles and the actors do not wear microphones. The set is simple. This is theater the way theater used to be!
The Twelfth Night is extremely funny and the performances are spectacular. Mark Rylance, floating across the stage in a dress must be seen. Paul Chahidi is wildly funny as the scheming Maria. Colin Hurley and Angus Wright, as the drunken Sir Toby Belch and his sidekick Sir Andrew Aguecheek, are hysterical. Every one of the talented actors in this Twelfth Night is perfect. They amuse the audience and seem to be genuinely amused by one another.
Elizabethan theatergoers knew how to have a good time. Now audiences in New York who are fortunate enough to see this production can be entertained just as they were in the 17th century. You will laugh almost non-stop for three plus hours. But hurry, the play closes February 16.Tickets are available at a 40% discount at Theatermania (http://www.theatermania.com/broadway/discount-tickets/twelfth-night_200624/), or you can try the TKTS booth in Times Square. Even without a discount, this play is worth seeing at full price.