IF music be the food of love, then theatre company Filter’s interpretation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night was a smorgasbord of notes
IF music be the food of love, then theatre company Filter’s interpretation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night was a smorgasbord of notes.
With some fantastic double bass, a searing bass guitar and various mood-altering jazz-like compositions, this production seemed to distill and magnify the meaning behind some of Shakespeare’s choice phrases from the play.
In the year that we are commemorating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, this show brought us a mix of old and new, with Sir Toby Belch in Elizabethan hose yet clutching a Sainsbury’s bag and a can of Special Brew, which was a good indication of the paths the show would tread.
With gender identity confusion, love, lust and repressed desires, the outline story was conveyed through a radio shipping forecast.
So as we saw Viola dress as a male, Cesario — with the aid of a hat and jacket from a member of the audience, and a pair of socks conveniently doubling as a codpiece — so we were filled in on the background. Cesario attracts the attention of Olivia, all the while desiring Orsino, and this love triangle is further complicated by the interests of Malvolio.
With Feste the jester in a red nose and musicians bouncing around, the company seemed to have siphoned off the tasty bits into a kind of alt-rock-infused soup.
The use of microphones bounding off skulls to show what was resonating around various characters’ brains was very amusing, and things just got crazier and crazier, with a drunken Sir Toby, a stripping Malvolio (I thought it might be like a production of
Hair for a minute) and softballs being flung at velcro hats.
All the emotions were there, with a sultry
Je t’aime-style semi-duet, some maudlin and sombre tunes and some upbeat sounds that were somehow cacophonous yet highly melodic all at once.
There were lots of subtle in-jokes for Shakespeare aficionados, and while this might not help clarify the exact textbook storyline for students of the Bard — not that this was ever the aim — it was certainly rip-roaring, raucous good fun.