Twelfth Night, or What You Will | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Twelfth Night, or What You Will 

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Twelfth Night, or What You Will, First Folio Shakespeare Festival, Peabody Estate at Mayslake. Fortunately most of the actors in this First Folio production are adept at making the most of a space as big as, well, all outdoors. What keeps us attentive throughout this open-air Twelfth Night is not a combination of parade-ground declamation and semaphore-size body language, however, but director Alison C. Veseley's playful, inventive interpretation. She starts with an Illyria resembling Regency England--a decision that not only establishes a mood of romantic giddiness but permits composer Michael Keefe to contribute some sweet serenades based on the poems of Lord Byron, rendered with winsome mischief by David Rice as Feste.

Enunciating with field-officer precision, Gail Rastorfer adds another trouser role to her repertoire as a Viola handsome enough to give Affleck and DiCaprio a run for their money. A team of high-stepping zanies, led by Sean Grennan as Sir Toby Belch and Kevin McKillip as Sir Andrew Aguecheek (both considerably more active physically than these characters usually are), take full advantage of Christopher Jensen's dollhouse set (and concealed floor microphones). Sturdy support is provided by Gabrielle Brite as Maria and Marc Giannettino as Fabian, and formidable opposition by David Perkovich as a somber but never sluggish Malvolio.

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