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LLT’s engaging, surprising ‘Twelfth Night’ is a delight

For 57 seasons, Lakeside Little Theatre has been too timid to attempt Shakespeare. 

pg21aPerhaps they were waiting for the perfect combination of director, cast, and wardrobe talent?  They found them here in Season 58. It’s a pleasure to see LLT stretch out of their comfort zone to attempt a play like this — and to pull it off so successfully.  Director Dave McIntosh has created such a sense of play and camaraderie in his cast that the audience can’t help but feel it.  The performance of “Twelfth Night” is engaging and full of surprises.

McIntosh does a fabulous job of making this 400-year-old play accessible and enjoyable for the modern audience.  Our first surprise is that we, the audience, are directly addressed and engaged by Feste (David Ellison) and his troupe of itinerant actors.  They decide to perform “Twelfth Night” for us and the play begins.

If you are familiar with the play, you already know that you must suspend your sense of disbelief to accept the plot of ship-wrecked twins, a female pretending to be male and everyone falling in love with the wrong person.  The play is a romp and it’s clear that the actors are having a lot of fun on stage. They draw us in again and again, including the chance to sing a naughty song with them.  More lighting on the actors in the early boat scenes could have helped familiarize the audience with the characters more quickly.

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