Twelfth Night, But Not As You Know It, At Young Vic

Twelfth Night, Young Vic ★★★★☆

By Alice Grahame Last edited 10 months ago

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Twelfth Night, But Not As You Know It, At Young Vic Twelfth Night, Young Vic 4
Twelfth Night at Young Vic: theatre review
Photo: Johan Persson

Kwame Kwei Armah’s first show as artistic director of the Young Vic is a joyous all-singing-all-dancing retelling of this evergreen comedy of separated twins and mistaken gender identity. It is an adaptation of his 2016 New York Public Theater Public Works production.

In this version the action is transposed from Illyria to the colourful terraced villas of Notting Hill during carnival, and with the stage extended right into the auditorium we really feel we're part of the crowd.

Twelfth Night at Young Vic: theatre review
Photo: Johan Persson

Shaina Taub’s witty songs range from 60s Motown-style to power ballads, the professional performers supported by a 30-strong local community choir. The energetic choreography by Lizzi Gee, taking us through lively street dance, jazz and zumba moves, leaves us wanting to join in.

Gabrielle Brooks shines as Viola/Cesario, whose rich and powerful voice complements Rupert Young’s awkwardly hipsterish Count Orsino.  Gerard Cary’s Malvolio, complete with yellow active wear and motorised scooter, steals the show with an exuberant tap-dancing routine and forlorn showstopper by way of an explanation for his pretentious snobbery.

Twelfth Night at Young Vic: theatre review
Photo: Johan Persson

Don’t come expecting a scholarly Elizabethan experience. This show delivers much more fun that, and in just 100 minutes brings a new freshness and energy to this perennial favourite.

Twelfth Night, Young Vic, 66 The Cut, Waterloo, SE1 8LZ. Tickets £10-£40, until 17 November 2018.

Last Updated 16 October 2018