Wild Goose Theatre's Twelfth Night

Act One, Scene One, Line One: ‘If music be the food of love, then play on.’  If the lovelorn Duke Orsino wants an excess of love then he’s chosen the right Shakespeare play. Twelfth Night, or As You Will, – so good that The Bard named it twice – is a bittersweet comedy overflowing with a chaotic tangle of characters digesting love, desire, rejection, confusion, trickery and foolishness.

Good Shakespeare is about simultaneously enjoying the action while marvelling at the language, and Wild Goose Theatre’s outdoor adaption of Twelfth Night at Oxford Castle READ ABOUT IT HERE: “It’s bursting with comic characters, jokes and humour” Wild Goose Theatre is back with a steam punk open-air production of Twelfth Night at Oxford Castle begins by getting the basics right.

Twelfth Night

The adaption from the much loved local theatre company, is pacy – that all important dialogue delivered loudly and clearly, (important on a breezy evening so do bring your coat), as the brilliantly cast, conniving, slapstick trio of Sir Toby Belch (played revoltingly well by a belching, urinating Richard Readshaw), Sir Andrew (Jordan Bische) and Maria (Fleur Yerbury-Hodgson) almost steal the show particularly when witnessing the success of their dastardly plan to trick the pompous Malvolio (Billy Morton).

Live melodies by way of Olivia’s jester, Feste (Rosa Collins) singing and strumming on her guitar, and incidental music by Nicolo Pierini are both welcome and refreshing additions. Well done to Wild Goose for not choosing the safer-but-duller option of using a pre-recorded soundtrack.

Twelfth Night

And take a bow Hafeja Khanam and George Bugler – two young actors playing the roles of identical twins Viola and Sebastian with great confidence and alacrity – their matching long, grey military coats enabling their homogeneous relationship. 

Spoiler alert: the confusion is ultimately resolved and everyone ends up happier, apart from poor Malvolio who understandably vows revenge ‘on the whole pack of you’ (If a play called ‘Malvolio’s Revenge’ hasn’t already been written, then it should).

Bravo Wild Goose Theatre for staging a delightfully entertaining and (very importantly with Shakespeare) accessible Twelfth Night.

Edward Bliss

Wild Goose Theatre’s Twelfth Night runs at Oxford Castle until July 27. Book here: https://www.oxfordcastleandprison.co.uk/events/event/wild-goose-theatre-twelfth-night/