Marking the 30th anniversary of the discovery of The Rose Playhouse, St Albans-based company OVO now journeys to London presenting their modern take on Twelfth Night. In this new and exciting musical version, Shakespeare meets Postmodern Jukebox in a remix of one of his best loved comedies, set on a cruise liner at the height of the roaring twenties.
On the SS Illyria, a live jazz band performs music from Rihanna, Britney Spears, Radiohead, Michael Jackson and many more. But, two campaigns are being quietly waged – one by the lovesick Duke Orsino against the heart of the indifferent Olivia; the other by an alliance of servants and hangers-on against the highhandedness of her steward, the pompous Malvolio. When Orsino engages the cross-dressed Viola to plead with Olivia on his behalf, a hilarious and bittersweet chain of events follows.
This upbeat melodious production is brought to life by Lucy Crick, Joshua Newman, Will Forester, Emma Watson, Anna Franklin, James Douglas, Jane Withers, Faith Turner, Andrew Margerison, David Widdowson, Alex White and Hannah Francis.
Director Adam Nichols commented: “Our starting point for every Shakespeare production has been to ask ourselves how would Shakespeare present this play if he were writing for a contemporary audience. People often refer to ‘modern dress’ productions of Shakespeare, as if sticking the actors in flapper dresses or flares, or superficially transporting the action to Nazi Germany or Edwardian London, will, in itself, make a play more relevant to a contemporary audience. You can’t impose a theme on any Shakespeare play just because you have taken a fancy to art deco interiors, or eighties new wave music. Theme and setting have to emerge from the characters, their situations and the words they speak. OVO aims to provide universally accessible and enjoyment entertainment for more casual theatregoers, whilst satisfying Shakespeare aficionados and honouring the great man’s legacy.”
OVO is an award-winning theatre company, based at the Maltings Arts Theatre, in St Albans where they produce a year-round repertory programme. They believe in creating exciting and artistically innovative theatre without financial support, which they feel can often be the motherhood of invention. OVO aims to present a new twist on the old classics – Shakespeare and other famous texts made accessible, usually through the use of music and a strong concept or setting. Twelfth Night is OVO’s 19th Shakespeare production – their reworkings have been seen by more than 15,000 people in three years alone.
Twelfth Night will be at The Rose Playhouse from the 23rd April – 5th May.