‘Twelfth’ finds its best, true self with balance of heart and humor

Full disclosure: “Twelfth Night” is my favorite, my most beloved Shakespeare comedy.

I’ve seen it at Britain’s Royal Shakespeare Company. I’ve seen it at Canada’s Stratford Festival and at San Diego’s Old Globe (to cite but a few), with productions set everywhere from the Riviera to the Caribbean.

It’s never less than a delight. But the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s current production is so much more.

Of course, it helps that “Twelfth Night” (which Shakespeare wrote about the same time as “Hamlet”) contains some of the Bard’s most glorious language, some of his most uproarious comedy, some of his most memorable characters.

All of which makes it tough to mess up. But it also makes it tough to strike just the right balance between humor and heart, as the characters strive to fool others — only to discover they’re fooling themselves.

“Twelfth Night’s” romantic roundelay gets underway after a disastrous shipwreck that finds Viola (the sturdily yearning Nell Geisslinger) washed up in Illyria — and her twin brother presumed drowned. (More shipwreck survivors, and more twins, turn up in “The Comedy of Errors,” but that’s like saying a Big Mac and Chateaubriand are both made of beef.)

What’s a girl to do? Why, masquerade as a male, Cesario, so (s)he can become the most trusted servant of Duke Orsino (Grant Goodman, serenely lovelorn), who’s pining for the love of the lovely countess Olivia (wistful Melinda Pfundstein), who’s in (seemingly perpetual) mourning for her dead brother. That is, until Orsino sends Cesario to Olivia to plead his suit — and Olivia is instantly, inevitably, entranced by the messenger, if not the message.

But the sometimes merry, sometimes melancholy mix-ups hardly end there.

Olivia’s drunken cousin, the aptly named Sir Toby Belch (a dynamic, blustery Roderick Peeples), conspires with his peacock pal Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Quinn Mattfeld, striking comic gold — or should that be fool’s gold?) and Olivia’s gentlewoman Maria (saucy Maryann Towne) to bring Olivia’s puritanical steward Malvolio (the pricelessly pompous David Pichette) down a peg — or three.

Observing all the foolishness: the jester Feste (lithe, blithe Aaron Galligan-Stierle), whose musical interludes convey not only amusement but bemusement as “Twelfth Night” unfolds.

Director David Ivers maintains and extends the play’s tender balance between the hilarious and the heartfelt with rare clarity and grace, venturing far beyond the search for the happy ending to explore the search for self — your true self, your best self.

And because it gets to the heart of the matter so splendidly, this “Twelfth Night” will get to you — whether you’re seeing it for the first time, or the twelfth.

Contact reporter Carol Cling at ccling@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272.

Artists from Cirque du Soleil contribute art to Las Vegas art exhibit
Artists from Cirque du Soleil contribute art to Las Vegas gallery exhibit
Red Plate on the Las Vegas Strip serves a cocktail made with blooming jasmine tea
Red Plate on the Las Vegas Strip serves a cocktail made with jasmine tea
Benny the Ice Skating Dog
Benny is a Las Vegas Labrador who was rescued by former pro skater Cheryl Del Sanyo, and trained to ice skate. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Nevada State Museum
The Nevada State Museum of Las Vegas, located at the Springs Preserve, covers all eras of the state, from prehistoric to today.
Throw a better dinner party
Cash appears at Baseball Winter Meetings
Lights FC mascot Cash plays the electronic drums at the EZ Inflatables’ booth on Tuesday at the Baseball Winter Meetings trade show at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
5 albums to soundtrack your holiday gatherings in style
1. Various Artists, “Holidays Rule," with Rufus Wainwright, The Shins, Calexico and more. 2. Various Artists, “We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year," with Lemmy Kilmister, Alice Cooper, Chuck Billy and others. 3. Various Artists, “Christmas on Death Row," featuring Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg to name but a few. 4. Bright Eyes, “A Christmas Album.” 5. Various Artists, "The Motown Christmas Album." (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
WinterFest in Henderson.
Miss Rodeo America Fashion Show
The 28 women contestants of Miss Rodeo America compete in a fashion show at the Tropicana on Dec. 7, 2018.
Tournament Of Kings Holiday Show
Wizards and warriors are ready for the holidays at Excalibur's Tournament of Kings Holiday Dinner Show.
Take a dive with the Silverton mermaids
A visit to the Silverton Casino Hotel is not complete without taking in the popular, and very unique, mermaid show.
Cowboys and western aficionados can buy virtually anything at Cowboy Christmas
Vegas Golden Knights Christmas Display
In the Las Vegas Valley, the chances of getting a white Christmas are slim. But this year, you can have a “Knight” Christmas. A Henderson resident has a Christmas lights display that is synchronized to the entrance music for the Golden Knights. GG Misa’s Knights light show is played every 30 minutes from 5 to 10 nightly. His light show consists of two songs: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and the entrance music, “Le Castle Vania,” from the movie “John Wick.” The display is located at 730 Bollons Island St. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Reivew-Journal)
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez is Just in Time For Repeal Day And Christmas
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez Is Just In Time For Repeal Day And Christmas. Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TV's LGBT superheroes
Green Valley Ranch's Winter's Village
The Mob Museum
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Quick Chat With Criss Angel
James D. Gish and Susan Anton rehearse
Susan Anton will be special guest at James D. Gish’s holiday concerts Dec. 7 at Summerlin Library and Dec. 9 at Clark County Library. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Winter Wonderland
"Majestic Holiday Magic" at the Bellagio Conservatory.
Underwater Santa At The Silverton
Santa takes a dive Sunday, December 2, at the Silverton Casino Hotel. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Cowabunga Bay Christmas Town
Las Vegas Natural History Museum
Las Vegas Natural History Museum, which opened in 1991, has exhibits of mechanical dinosaurs and taxidermied animals, along with live snakes, fish and sharks. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Magical Forest Lights
Cirque Du Soleil Performers Team Up For New Show "Kinekt"
Through dance, acrobatics and aerial arts, “Kinekt” tells a story all too familiar to modern families: how to maintain a human connection in the digital age. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ethel M Holiday Cactus Garden
The Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas
The Pinball Hall of Fame was created by Tim Arnold and opened in 2006. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jump! The Ultimate Dog Show at Springs Preserve in Las Vegas
Trainer Lou “Mack” McCammon guides several rescue dogs through a series of tricks and jumps two shows a day weekends through December at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like