"If music be the food of love, play on…"
"O mistress mine, where are you roaming?"
"What is love? ‘tis not hereafter;
present mirth hath present laughter
What’s to come is still unsure
In delay there lies no plenty;
Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty,
Youth’s a stuff will not endure"
"I was adored once too"
"Come away, come away death,
And in sad cypress let me be laid
Fly away, fly away, breath
I am slain by a fair cruel maid."
"Be not afraid of greatness: some men are born great,
some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them."
"Why, this is very midsummer madness"
"I’ll be revenged on the whole pack of you"
"When that I was and a little tiny boy,
With hey, ho the wind and the rain;
A foolish thing was but a toy
For the rain it raineth every day"
’So many memorable quotations from this sublime play of sexual
confusions, mistaken identities, cross-dressing, fools in love, and pride brought
low. Shakespeare’s sparkling comedy was filmed in 1996 starring Helena Bonham
Carter, Richard E. Grant, Ben Kingsley, Mel Smith, Toby Stephens and Imogen
Stubbs. It received poor notices; it had a limited release, and appears to have
sunk without trace. I do not recall it having been screened on British TV. The
film was an updated version set in some unspecified, presumably Edwardian period
in which the darker more melancholic elements were over-stressed at the expense
of the farce.
This Naxos production is on the whole a worthy enterprise.
Jonathan Keeble makes a proud but ‘myopic’ Orsino, Stella Gonet shines in her
role as Viola delivering her lines with authority, clarity and conviction. A
pity the same cannot be said for Lucy Whybrow as Olivia. Gerard Murphy as Sir
Toby Belch could have been more animated too. Of the rest of the cast Christopher
Goodwin is very good as the haughty Malvolio appearing before his mistress smiling,
cross-gartered and clad in yellow stockings, and Malcolm Sinclair is good as
the equally put-upon and pathetic Sir Andrew Aguecheek. David Timson shines
too, throwing off Feste’s tongue-twisting lines with ease.
David Timson also contributes a scholarly note on "Twelfth
Night as a microcosm of Elizabethan England", Perry Keenlyside writes
a full description of the development of the play and adds a synopsis. A full
illustrated cast list is also included in the booklet and between-the-scenes
music is taken from Naxos albums of early English music.