Fiasco Theater is playing Shakespeare’s great comedy Twelfth Night at Classic Stage Company (136 East 13th Street) until Saturday January 6, 2018. Run don’t walk to catch this exciting, funny, musical, lyrical, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, pastoral-romantic comedy best suited to this season.
Twelfth Night is often described as a perfect comedy and it may well be so. But for that twin thing. The romance is restrained (what with people in disguise), the comedy is not. And in this production, the cast is superlative. May I present:
Andy Grotelueschen as Sir Toby Belch
Jessie Austrian as Olivia
Emily Young as Viola/Cesario
Noah Brody as Orsino (also co-directed)
Ben Steinfeld as Feste (also co-directed)
Tina Chilip as Maria
Paul L. Coffey as Malvolio
Paco Tolson as Sir Andrew Aguecheek (among others)
Javier Ignacio as Sebastian (among others)
David Samuel as Antonio (among others)
John Doyle’s scenic design is flexible and creative, as is costume design by Emily Rebholz.
Andy Grotelueschen’s Sir Toby may well be the best funniest and most consistently alive I’ve seen, with a real relationship between him and Tina Chilip’s happily hilarious Maria.
Ben Steinfeld as Feste shows himself as a fine comedic actor and musician and singer, quite romantic, and apparently a good director, since he and Noah Brody directed this production.
Noah Brody is a well-developed and believable Orsino (although I will always remember the delicious Orsino of Paul Rudd at Lincoln Center).
Jessie Austrian’s Olivia is a sex-starved delight.
Emily Young’s Cesario/Viola is witty, strong and quite marvelous.
As is their custom, when not actively onstage, the members of the Fiasco Theater sit or stand on the sidelines watching their colleagues and laughing along. And accompanying one another on musical instruments and vocals, which makes for a funny, musical, delightful evening.
As always, the twins bit in the last scene goes on too long — how dense are these people — but that’s just a momentary annoyance that may only happen to people (like me) who’ve seen the play many times.
So go to 13th Street, go online, get a ticket, celebrate a well-over-200-year-old play. Just because it’s done all the time doesn’t mean it’s always done as well as this. Trust Fiasco Theater. Go!
~ Molly Matera, signing off to go bake Christmas Cookies....