The California Shakespeare Company, originally directed by William H. Fisher and re-directed for the space by Brandon Shirley, has produced a most delightful and entertaining Twelfth Night, suitable for anyone from three to 93. Made easy to follow by actors who speak Shakespeare in a clear and natural cadence and who relish their characters, the show, with music by Cole Porter and fast-paced direction, causes the action to zip by.
The show’s title bears no relation to any event within the story by instead centers on love in its various forms. The play takes place in summer in the mythical city of Illyria, and was written for amusement.
The action involves Viola (Allison Williams) effectively playing Cesario, in a male disguise of a suit, tie, short hair and glasses, acting as a messenger for Duke Orsino (Daniel Tobin). He is hopelessly in love with Olivia (Vivien Latham) except Olivia recently bereaved is attracted to Cesario. Three essential characters are the clowns: Sir Toby (Palmer Scott), who plays a fun-loving uncle with his little Oliver Hardy mustache. He normally plays tricks on Sir Andrew (Andrew David James), the bumbling simpleton knight. Then there’s Maria, Olivia’s maid (Marilyn Zaslow). Malvolio, Olivia’s steward (Terry Fishman) is especially understandable and adds some gravitas to the frolic.
Feste the Fool (Mark Tortorici) opens the play, singing “Night and Day” in a pleasing baritone voice. He narrates and performs with gusto. Among many Cole Porter songs featured are “You Do Something to Me” and “From This Moment On.”
Twelfth Night is at the NoHo London Music Hall, 10620 Magnolia Blvd. in North Hollywood. Performances run Friday, November 26, and Saturday, November 27 at 8 p.m. The last show is on Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students, seniors and military personnel. Tickets are available at the box office or at www.shakespeareca.com.