Twelfth Night (5 stars)

Twelfth Night

credit: Mihaela Bodlovic

Outstanding psychedelic riff on The Bard's tale of love and deceit

Director Wils Wilson's bonkers kaleidoscope of wayward magic, with wildly inventive movement choreography from Emma Jayne Park, feels like Shakespeare filtered through a late 1960s P-Funk concert. The twelve strong cast, who tickle, tease and confound, can handle knockabout physical comedy as easily as they break hearts. Marc Riley favourite, composer Meilyr Jones provides a gorgeous baroque pop soundtrack, which draws apposite parallel lines between Elizabethan folk and contemporary psych indie, and he sings beautifully onstage as enigmatic minstrel Curio in massive silver stack heels.

In Wilson's hands, the story of gender bending and mischief making betrays the duality of human nature: where Dylan Read provides exquisite and hilarious clowning as the fool Feste; Jade Ogugua's Viola is more complex, full of wit, pathos and vulnerability.

Things take an altogether darker turn as Malvolio (Christopher Green) is promised a lover through a suggestive letter, then swiftly abandoned. Green's turn from stiff moustachioed reactionary, to preening rock star dandy, to broken man, is nothing short of devastating. His sweetness and endearing comic chops invests his character with a liveliness that goes beyond the puritanical stereotype that Shakespeare broadly mocks in the script.

Ana Ines Jabares-Pita's incredible design is reminiscent of something out of trippy sixties sketch show Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In. Characters pop in and out of nooks, ring bells and emerge from unexpected angles in the ground. It's all as evocative as the wide-eyed hippy dream, when people were idealistic, before it all soured. The show's eccentric delights are endless, making this a triumph of the psychedelic imagination.

Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, until Sat 6 Oct.

Twelfth Night

Adaptation of Shakespeare's gender-blurring Twelfth Night set during the Summer of Love. A co-production between the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh and the Bristol Old Vic.

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