The latest adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is light but entertaining. Imogen Stubbs stars as Viola, who, shipwrecked in a foreign land, assumes the guise of Cesario. As Cesario, she finds employment in the court of the local Count Orsino (Toby Stephens), whom she secretly loves. Orsino, on the other hand, loves Olivia (Helena Bonham Carter), who will have nothing to do with him…but she is quite taken by Cesario, unknowing that he is actually a woman. Will this love triangle work out, or will the three die in a horribly bloody tragedy… this being Shakespeare, either outcome is equally possible…but rest assured, this is one of his comedies. Imogen Stubbs handles her central role with a great deal of charm and flair. Ben Kingsley and Nigel Hawthorne stand out in the supporting cast, although the convoluted plotting to tear down the arrogant Malvolio (Hawthorne) is somewhat distracting from the rest of the story. Trevor Nunn’s direction is adequate, but never makes the story as involving as, say, Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing. Still, if you’re in the mood for a Shakespeare fix, and don’t want a brooding tragedy, this should provide a pleasant diversion.
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