The Energetic Young Shakespeare Workshop’s Twelfth Night Delights

With no set, young actors, and seldom few props, the Young Shakespeare Company, led by director Darren Leigh, has delivered a fully satisfying take on Twelfth Night, proving a strong opening for the summer company.

The story of shipwrecked Viola’s love for Duke Orsino, and his love for Olivia, and Olivia’s love for Viola, disguised as the man Cesario to get closer to Orsino, the Young Shakespeare Company acquit themselves well to the twisty, complicated material, making Shakespeare’s dense prose not only easily comprehensible but hilarious as well. The play premiered on the Conservatory Lawn in Seattle’s Volunteer Park, a shady spot that complimented the action nicely, and the players made the forested area they chose for a stage feel endless and spontaneous, in keeping with the farce of the play.

The Company did not provide a flyer for their opening performance, but I have to compliment the young man who took to the role of Malvolio, Olivia’s servant, and imbued it with an unmatched poise and comic malice, not to mention an eventual, hilarious mania, while still retaining a cohesive whole in Malvolio’s should-be repellent behavior. The performance is as good as any might be by a performer far beyond this young man’s age, and turns the servant into the lovable core of the production. It is easily one of the best performances of the nascent Shakespeare-in-the-Park season. If the rest of the cast can’t quite live up to his energy, they still make for a charming, experienced cast, creating an excellent and entertaining Twelfth Night.

The Yound Shakespeare Company performs for free; for more information on their summer tour schedule, go to http://youngshakespeare.org/event/twelfth-night-or-what-you-will-3/?instance_id=50.

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