Dublin Shakespeare Festival: Twelfth Night

Dublin has literary fever at the moment, with the Writers’ Festival just passed and Bloomsday coming up; it is quite fitting then that quite possibly the biggest literary influence for Joyce – Shakespeare is currently the subject of a festival based in Trinity.

The Dublin Shakespeare festival, which began June 1st and will run until June 11th, plays host to approximately 400 performers both professional and amateur featuring in over 50 outdoor performances of Shakespeare’s work. I attended Twelfth Night on Saturday evening and was really chuffed with the quality production I saw for the very reasonably priced ticket.

Student tickets are only €10, and adults €15 (significantly cheaper than the average of €25 for the Dublin Theatre Festival tickets), the show lasted for 3 hours and we were treated to complimentary tea, coffee and chocolates in the interval – in all very good value for money.

The festival have constructed a series of stands with pointed tent roofs, arranged in a semi circle all looking out over the performance area, which apparently seats 400 people (it seemed a lot smaller). It’s a lovely performance space in the beautiful front square of Trinity College and set up for a very special performance. I had never read nor seen Twelfth Night before but was really entertained by the production by GB Theatre company. The cast were superb, with excellent timing and also with great body language and expression which really added extra comedic value and some modern wit to the script. In particular, I really warmed to Sir Toby (played by the company’s manager David Davies) and Feste, the Fool (played by Oliver Cudbill), but I couldn’t fault any of the performances.

I only flaw I could pick out is the sound, there are amplified sound effects (particularly loud during the sea storm scene at the beginning) but the actors don’t use any microphones or amplification of any kind so it was quite hard to hear at times. It was also unbelievably cold throughout, as it’s an outdoor performance and you’re sitting for 3 hours on plastic seats. We saw some other incredibly intelligent audience members with blankets and if I go to their production of Romeo and Juliet during the week I am most definitely bringing a blanket!

Anyhew, get thee to a play this week by clicking on the following link: http://www.dublinshakespeare.com/ Don’t forget the blankets!!

You can read more about the production and explore the company’s website here: http://www.gbtheatre.com/twelfthnight.html

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