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LA Theater Review

Twelfth Night or What You Will

Although Shakespeare's mood suggests a pocket play of wicked and decidedly liquid enchantment, with nary a fairy in sight, it is a laugh-a-minute, knockabout riot in the hands of Classical Theatre Lab's raucous crew under Armin Shimerman's ribald direction. A bevy of extraordinary actors takes to the trees in Plummer Park with the kind of merrymaking glee the Bard's merry men must have had when they were playing to the groundlings in the early 17th century. The extended gaiety is never for a moment intended to be taken seriously, yet real emotions surface despite the moping, toping, and roistering that keeps these princes and servants perpetually in the fun zone.

Viola/Cesario is played by the adorable Julie Alexander. Duke Orsino is played by the dashingly solid John Crawford. Playing the fiercely handsome Maria is the daring Jean Gilpin, a glamorous bundle of mischievous energy. The lighter light relief is provided by Stephen Moramarco as a pompous Malvolio. A bevy of fools plays hob with the tale: Feste, the Fool (a hilarious Will Badgett), a wonderfully loopy Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Barry Saltzman), and Michael Matthys as Sir Toby Belch.

The children in the audience were just as intrigued as the adults and seemed to get most of the jokes. What a great lark in the park!

Presented by Classical Theatre Lab at Plummer Park, Fiesta Hall Courtyard, West Hollywood. July 18Aug. 23. Sat.–Sun., 5 p.m.
(323) 960-5691.

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