Review: Twelfth Night

The Lincoln Company
C too, Johnstone Terrace, Edinburgh, Scotland, Until August 31st
4 Stars (4 / 5)

“Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage.”

The Fringe is always awash with young companies reinterpreting Shakespeare, but it takes real heart to do something special with The Bard – and do it well.

In this case Illyria (an ancient region of the Western Balkans) is in fact a record store, and a whole host of “well-meaning, infatuated, reckless teenagers” – including a dead-beat punk-rocker – descend upon it to music that captures each of their style and personality.

So casual is the effect that it seems to somewhat clash with the overblown Shakespearean delivery of the first soliloquy. In a similar fashion, some of the delivery in this production verges on melodramatic and this works less well than when the performer’s speech is as natural as their mime, however, make no mistake – there are some fantastic performances here. Each of this sizeable cast has soon settled into their role and things can only get better.

It’s impossible give a sense of the piece without commenting on the sound track. So many of the best scenes (such as the cast carelessly partying to “Cum on Feel the Noize”; or the touching forbidden chemistry between Viola and Orsino to “Dancing in the Moonlight”) take their quality from the way the great choice of music compliments the acting. I longed for the latter of these two scenes to go on a little longer.

The Lincoln Company make great use of the comic elements of the play, and have lots of fun baiting, teasing and goading one another on. The joy in their performance of these hijinks is infectious.