REVIEW: A delightful ‘Shakespearean romp of comedy and confusion’ |

REVIEW: A delightful ‘Shakespearean romp of comedy and confusion’

Drue Mathies and Rene Sprattling
Special to The Union

Maddie Gardiner and Fiona Berardi will appear in "Twelth Night" July 5 at the North Star House. The Shakespearan play will be staged by Quest Theaterworks and benefit the Bear Yuba Land Trust.

"Twelfth Night," produced by Quest Theaterworks, offers a fun Shakespearean romp of comedy and confusion. It is a delightful tale of misdeeds, miscommunication and mistaken identity.

Prior to the curtain, the audience is entertained by a talented musical ensemble dressed in period costumes playing flute, piccolo, recorder and guitar. Stagehands then introduce the prologue, providing the needed backstory of the characters and plot.

One of the funniest bits happens when Sir Toby (Scott Ewing is perfectly cast for the role) makes his introductory appearance. His face, with excessively rosy cheeks and listing bulk, remind one of a ship about to sink.

Indeed, he is three sheets to the wind for most of the story. The audience laughed appreciatively at his excellently choreographed movements.

For those of you unfamiliar with the story, here is a brief rundown.

Identical twins Sebastian and Viola (played by Aaron Young and Kate Haight) fall into the sea from a storm-tossed ship. Each thinks the other has perished. Actually, both survive.

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Sister assumes male identity to find employment and lands it with the self-indulgent Duke, Orsinio. Meanwhile, Orsinio (Brian Arnold) is in love with the equally self-indulgent Olivia, (artfully crafted by Lois Ewing), and wishes to be her suitor.

Unfortunately for him, Olivia has sworn off men since the recent death of her father and brother. Her Uncle Toby and Maria (quite admirably played by Latima Good) are paying her a consoling visit, with Toby having his own suitor in mind. Eventually lovers are puzzled, twins are confused, all is not what it seems and Malvolio … ahh, Malvolio.

As villains go, Malvolio is fairly tame. Maybe one should not even classify him as villainous.

He's just a man who appreciates an orderly life and is fraudulently deluded into believing that he is Olivia's romantic ideal, and comedy ensues at his expense.

Will Muir (actor with the world's smallest bio) interprets this prissy, fastidious, misguided character with the confident aplomb of a seasoned performer.

Feste, the Fool (adroitly played by Trish Adair) delights in the triumph of contrived logic over assumed truth. As director, Adair maneuvers the action scenes well.

The reluctant duel scene between Sir Andrew (comically played by Ken Miele) and Viola as the male Cesario is a charming comic dance. Kate plays Cesario with just the right mix of purity, caution, and feigned bravado.

The seasoned performers are a pleasure to watch as they share the stage with less seasoned, but totally committed, newer thespians.

Add some music, a touch of dance, singing, fine costuming and a set well matched to the production, and you have an evening of delightful entertainment.

We caught the show at the Chautauqua Playhouse — the last performance before it moves to the North Star House July 5 (5 p.m. show).

The one-night-only performance is a benefit for the Bear Yuba Land Trust and Quest Theaterworks.

Tickets for the show are $40 for adults, $10 for kids and there is a cast reception for $20 following the event. For more information, go to

Drue Mathies is an award-winning actor and theater patron. Rene Sprattling (Mathies) is also an award-winning actor and ceramic artist. Together they own and operate Nevada City Retreats vacation cabins and occasionally write reviews.

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