Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Sean Pertwee, Greta Scacchi, Lorren Bent, Denise Black, Richard Coyle
Directors: Michael Bogdanov, Tim Supple
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Television
Twelfth Night This classic Shakespeare comedy of disguise and mistaken identity follows twins Viola and Sebastian, asylum seekers who are separated and washed up on the strange island of Illyria ? a contemporary, multicul... more »
Something dreary this way comes
Christopher M. Adderley | Marshall, MO United States | 02/18/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"These are British TV productions of two of Shakespeare's best plays, each cut to fit in a 110-minute time slot. The cutting isn't bad, actually--you barely notice, and there's plenty of visual material to cover the gaps.
The problem is the interpretation. I have no problem with setting Shakespeare plays in the modern era, and "Macbeth" in this collection works well in a limited sort of way. But "Twelfth Night" is one of the dreariest productions I've ever seen. Including live and filmed productions, I've seen seven different versions of this play, and this is the only one to treat the humour in such a heavy-handed way. A comedy that feels like a tragedy. In fact, even "Hamlet" isn't this heavy. The multiracial cast is interesting but, in a sense, a little too gimmicky, as are the subliminal edits of Olivia during Orsino's opening speech, "If music be the food of love..." And the poor actress playing Viola--I think she could probably act, but the director's heavy-handedness is evident in every portrayal, especially in hers. Her expression never changes. She always looks sullen. When she's reunited with her brother at the end of the play she looks almost resentful.
The director of this production of "Macbeth" is Michael Bogdanov, whose version of the history plays I admire very much. Some of his "Macbeth" works, for my money--Macbeth's reaction to the ghostly Banquo is quite chilling, the portrayal of the Weird Sisters as bag ladies is a lot of fun, and most of the actual performances are splendid. I also enjoyed seeing Macbeth shouting out his final lines whilst blasting away with an Uzi. It doesn't actually excel in any way--the Ian McKellen/Judi Dench production from the mid-1970s works better overall, I think. But this is not bad."
Charles R. Olszewski | New Brunswick, NJ, USA | 05/06/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Tim Supple appears to have confused Twelfth Night, one of the best of the Bard's comedies, with King Lear. The pace is lethargic, the dialogue is straight out of the Cliff's Notes version, and the mood is funereal. The cast ranges from very good to adequate, but the direction butts in on virtually every scene. Given that Viola and Sebastian are played by Indian actors, the use of mixed English and Hindi in their scenes ranks as one of the few intelligent innovations by Supple. Chiwetel Ejiofor, plays Orsino as an icon, giving no motivation other than his physical appearance, for Viola (Parminder Nagra) to fall instantly in love with him. Michael Maloney, as Malvolio, likewise does little to explain the animosity shown towards him by Maria, Sir Toby, Sir Andrew and Feste. The latter, played by Zubin Varla, could as well be playing Moriarity, the undertaker. One senses that each of the characters could easily handle his or her role, but were squelched by inept and misconceived direction. While this production is, granted, supposely in a series of abbreviated Channel 4 productions of the works of Shakespeare, it is played more akin to Dr. Frederick Bronski's "Highlights From Hamlet" (from Mel Brooks' "To Be Or Not To Be" than any genuine effort at producing the actual play. Indeed, even many of the generally accepted highlights from Twelfth Night are omitted - along with ALL of the comedy. Regretably, if you want to see Twelfth Night, this is all that appears to be currently available. Skip it."
Twelfth night holds up to repeated viewings
Genre Bender | Madison WI | 04/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Tim Supple's Twelfth Night is my favorite adaptation of Shakespeare to film -- and I've watched dozens of adaptations. The look of the film is brilliant, the acting outstanding, and the pacing superb. I've shown it to college freshmen who have loved it -- a highly uncharacteristic response to Shakespeare. Yes, the subplot with Malvolio is not played for sheer comedy but his imprisonment takes on new import in this age of hostages. I have probably watched this film 20 times because I show it in classes (including one just on Shakespeare) and I am certain of its brilliance. It is flawless and only gains strength with repeated viewings."