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William Shakespeare's

Twelfth Night (2017)

May 13th - October 21stFestival TheatreTicket Info
Generally Positive Reviews based on 12 Critics
  • mid 49% of shows in the 2017 season
  • tied for most reviewed show of the season
12 Reviews

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This is a listing for the 2017 season. For the current 2023 shows click here.

The New York Times - Jesse Green

Best and funniest Shakespeare roué...

“Martha Henry’s production (“Twelfth Night”) feels personal but not maudlin.

Shannon Taylor (also appearing in “School for Scandal”) beautifully traces the stages of Olivia’s recovery from grief; for once, you get the sense that her love for Viola (in disguise as Cesario) is drawing her back toward the sunlight in which she always belonged.

The comedy and cruelties are nicely balanced, too, with an especially piquant contrast between Geraint Wyn Davies’s Sir Toby Belch — the best and funniest Shakespeare roué I’ve encountered — and the scarily dour Malvolio of Rod Beattie.

But the star turn in this production comes from Brent Carver as the fool Feste, here a honey-voiced melancholic singing a suite of lovely songs (set by Reza Jacobs) while accompanying himself on glass bowls.”

Read Full Review08/14/2017

The Chicago Tribune - Chris Jones

Signature clarity and comic...

“Martha Henry’s modestly scaled production of “Twelfth Night,” for example, bounces enjoyably through its overtly comic scenes, thanks to such longtime Stratford stars as Tom Rooney, Brent Carver, Lucy Peacock and Geraint Wyn Davies and their escapist indulgences, played with Stratford signature clarity and comic sophistication.”

Read Full Review08/04/2017

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Mike Fischer

Smart, dark and thoroughly satisfying

“In director Martha Henry’s smart, dark and thoroughly satisfying rendition of “Twelfth Night,” a particularly sexist and unlikable Orsino foretells a grim future for Viola – even as she gamely joins the rest of the cast in staging a final tableaux, suggesting that this collection of loners and misfits might somehow find a way to be happy together.”

Read Full Review07/31/2017

The National Post - Robert Cushman

Twelfth Night offers music and words

“Rather than the normal languid aesthete, E. B. Smith’s Orsino is a real potentate, violent in his self-pity, capable of the murderous cruelty he threatens towards the end.

The performance’s execution lacks something in finesse, but the conception is an eye-opener.”

Read Full Review06/07/2017

The Slotkin Letter - Lynn Slotkin

Martha Henry’s production of is...

“One does not usually consider Feste the clown as the star of Twelfth Night but in Martha Henry’s production he is and it makes perfect sense. Feste connects the households of Orsino and Olivia and generally comments on the larger world of the play….

The cast is loaded with actors who are a joy to watch as they inhabit their characters. Sarah Afful can convince you she is a delicate, confident woman as Viola, as well as a sprightly young man as Cesario. E.B. Smith gives Orsino a courtliness and command…

When Martha Henry directs a production of anything, she proves again and again that ‘just’ doing the play without pyrotechnics or dazzle is the most resounding way to illuminate the play.”

Read Full Review06/03/2017

Robyn's Reviews - Robyn Godfrey

Taylor and Carver Shine in...

“Of the numerous fine performances of the evening, two in particular were transcendent: Brent Carver as Feste and Shannon Taylor as Olivia. The Tony-award winning Mr. Carver returns to the Stratford stages for the first time since 2010, and presents a sweetly unassuming Feste with a voice to match….

Meanwhile it is Shannon Taylor as Olivia who gives a breakout performance. Crystal clear in her speech, inconspicuously funny and completely convincing, Ms. Taylor is utterly delightful, and treats the audience to an unforgettable Olivia.”

Read Full Review05/30/2017

The Hamilton Spectator - Gary Smith

Revelatory new look at Twelfth Night

“Rod Beattie shucks off his frequently comic persona to invest a deeper, darker vision of Malvolio, the dark puritan spectre, managing to make the infamous cross-gartered scene both funny and sad.

In Sarah Afful, this Twelfth Night has a wonderful Viola. Afful speaks the poetry of Shakespeare’s verse in a way that is modern and clean, yet always blessed with the lyric caress of the text. She is undoubtedly a star in the making.”

Read Full Review05/31/2017

James Wegg Review - James Wegg

The farcical folly of identical twins

“…most of the opening night crowd savoured every bit of the thrust-stage hilarity (John Pennoyer’s sparse set was a marvel of form, function and leafy subtlety).

However, by journey’s end—when the deceptions were laid bare and happy-ever-after couplings revealed—there was a curious feeling for some as to “So what?”, while, perhaps, many more were waiting for the next big yuk rather than a well-sung minstrel’s ditty to bring down the proverbial curtain.”

Read Full Review05/30/2017

Broadway World - Lauren Gienow

Masterfully balanced Orsino

“Throughout the play, Smith is able to masterfully balance Orsino’s chauvinism, ego, charm and almost childlike understanding of love, in a way that allows the audience to root for him to find his happy ending…Wyn Davies and Rooney are hilarious together, and when Carver’s Feste joins them in singing a round, the musical talents of all three men combine with their comedic talents, allowing for a truly hysterical moment. In short, this was exactly what this reviewer came to the theatre hoping for!”

Read Full Review05/30/2017

The Toronto Star - Karen Fricker

Lacks a central idea and spark

“Henry is a revered senior figure in Canadian theatre and a veteran director of Shakespeare, but this production seems from a different time, when there was less focus on directorial concepts and less concern about cultural references tracking back responsibly to their sources. It lacks a central idea, and a crucial spark.”

Read Full Review05/30/2017

The Stratford Beacon Herald - n.a.

Wyn Davies and Rooney magnificent

“Another highlight is the interplay between the magnificent Geraint Wyn Davies, as dissolute prankster Sir Toby Belch, and the always hilarious Tom Rooney as the hapless Sir Andrew Aguecheek.

Rooney’s impeccable timing serves him in good stead, offering some of the play’s best comedic moments through little more than a gesture or reaction. Wyn Davies is just as compelling as the conniving Belch, who, in addition to gleefully exploiting the witless Aguecheek, schemes to discredit Olivia’s puritanical steward, Malvolio, played with perfect reserve by Rod Beattie”

Read Full Review05/30/2017

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