‘12th Night Lite’ (Paradise in Augustines – The Studio) | Review By Erin Munro

“12th Night Lite” does what it says on the tin, retelling the beloved Shakespeare comedy “Twelfth Night” in a one hour slot at The Studio – Paradise in Augustines. The script, edited by Ruth Garvey-Williams, retains the framework and humour of the classic whilst being cut to suit a Fringe performance space all with a cast of just three, an ambitious feat. 

Focusing on the central love triangle of Twelfth Night, twins Viola and Sebastian are separated at sea. Upon landing in Illyria, Viola takes on the disguise of a male, “Cesario,” to act as a servant to the Duke – hopeless romantic, Orasino. Cesario is tasked with convincing Lady Olivia to marry the Duke, however Olivia falls for Cesario instead and Cesario/Viola is in love with the Duke! Oh and, whatever happened to Sebastian? Love triangles, miscommunication and hilarity ensue. 

Susie Garvey-Williams is solid in her portrayal of Viola, Cesario and Sebastian. Poised, puzzled and swaggering respectively, Garvey-Williams is a pillar for the show to unfold around. 

Heavy is the head that wears the crown, or rather veil, yet Francesca Firman does it with ease. Firman performs as Olivia, Antonio, Maria and a Sailor hopping between them all with dexterity and moxie. She has the audience in the palm of her hand as primadonna, Lady Olivia and cackling at her outrageous flirtation with Cesario and Sebastian. 

Matthew Leigh is fantastic as lovesick Duke Orsino, however he truly shines in Malvolio’s yellow stockings. His comic timing is unquestionable as we even come to sympathise with smitten, bumbling Malvolio when he is tricked by Maria. 

In this reimagining, “12th Night Lite” has the potential to appeal to a broad audience with the inclusion of a few modern embellishments. Shakespeare’s answer to Ant and Seb slouch into camping chairs wearing sports caps backwards over a beer like true bros. Which is honestly hilarious if perhaps a bit out of place in a show which otherwise largely presents as a period piece. 

The set is simple and effective, with transitions being shown through costume, props and the arrangement of two screens which are choreographed to a tee, never missing a chance to sneak in an extra laugh.

Overall, “12th Night Lite” is a hilarious and accessible retelling of “Twelfth Night” that is bound to entertain Shakespeare fans, newcomers and rom-com lovers alike! You can still catch this production at The Studio – Paradise in Augustines running at 11.40am from the 8th-11th August.


Get tickets for ‘12th Nite Light’ here:


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