HARLOW THEATRE COMPANY.
Set in the 1930's starring an all-female cast, Shakespeare's classic comedy tale of a cross-dressing, ship-wreck surviving, poetry-loving girl who finds herself at the centre of a not-so-average love triangle had audiences laughing in their seats.
In a word, wonderful. This was a wonderful, witty, imaginative, visually engaging production of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Before we go any further, we implore you to go and see it. If you don’t catch it now then I do hope director, Jane Miles does it again. In many ways, you want every Harlow school to see this. It is a great example of how to make Shakespeare fun and accessible.
To be honest, this reporter is not sure how much they were in the mood for two-and-a-half hours of Shakespeare on a humid evening at Victoria Hall but from the moment, this reporter took his comfy seat and saw the set of beach huts and sand, we were enthralled.
This was an all female cast who brought a vivaciousness and charm to each role. Each actress brought a depth and feel to their roles. You would be hard pressed to get a better comic threesome than Carrie-Lee-Stevens, Michelle Jimenez-Alder and Helga Kilroy and they fill the stage as Sir Andrew Aguecheek, Sir Toby Belch and Feste.
This was one of these performances where you could easily watch each actor as they performed, whether they were speaking or not.
One of the standout performances is of Olivia by Lisa Gould who brings a flapper like joie-de-vivre to the role as a the impulsive Countess.
We could also not help thinking that the ever reliable Pamela Self-Pierson’s Malvolio reminded this reviewer of Emma Thompson impersonating Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Twelfth Night also has it solid roles and Carol Parradine as Duke Orsino, Rosie Connolly as Viola and Vanessa Wood as Sebastian do that, as they say, manfully.
Every actress displayed a confidence as they strode the stage and inhabited their part. Alex Appleton as Maria was perhaps the best example.
But perhaps the highest prices must be reserved for the director Jane Miles who has pulled off a real tour-de-force here. This was a word perfect performance of a difficult play, that manages to bring new life and meaning.
From the opening scene to the final dance to Blur, this was perhaps one of the best Harlow Theatre Co productions this reporters seen in the four years that Your Harlow has been running.
Captain of a ship - Helga Kilroy
Viola - Rosie Connolly
Duke Orsino - Carol Parradine
Curio - Scarlette Jimenez-Alder
Valentine - Reanna Austin
Sir Toby Belch - Michelle Jimenez-Alder
Maria - Alex Appleton
Sir Andrew Aguecheek - Carrie-Lee Stevens
Feste - Helga Kilroy
Olivia - Lisa Gould
Malvolio - Pamela Self-Pierson
Antonio - Poppy Evans
Sebastian - Vanessa Wood
Mistress Fabian - Sarah Wiggins
Director – Jane Miles
Choreographer - Sara Green
Production Manager - Barry Bowen
Set Design – Brett Stevens
Lighting Design – Tom Richards
Sound Design – Paul Johnson
Costume Design – Jocelyn Johnson and Denise Rouse
Properties – Barry Bowen
Art Design – Paul Johnson
Stage Combat - Steve Dove and Paul Johnson
Stage Manager – Sam Stevens
Assistant Stage Manager - Sara Green
Set Construction and Painting - Brett Stevens, Steve Dove, Leo Appleton, Melissa Guest, Paul Johnson, Barry Bowen, Sara Green, Tristan Featherstone, Keith Mardell, Jonathan Chinsky, Eminay King, Izzy Lacey
Production Photography - Mel Guest
Marketing – Mel Guest
Rehearsal Continuity - Joe Bishop
Acknowledgements: We would like to thank our sponsors for their support throughout 2017.