Set in an indistinct modern era, where Vespas, jesters and man buns exist in harmony, the National Theatre’s production of Twelfth Night is a refreshing, gender-fluid take on Shakespeare’s lesser known comedy. Here, three major male roles are played excellently by women, bringing the unfamiliar subject of homosexuality into Shakespeare’s world – incest, however, he was cool with – when Tamsin Greig’s Malvolia, an uptight maidservant, is deceived into thinking her mistress is her secret admirer.
The narrative is centred around shipwrecked Viola, who assumes the identity of her twin brother, and enters the community in Illyria, where she unwittingly attracts the affections of both men and women. But Malvolia’s subplot – in which she is deceived by her fellow maidservant and a sardonic jester into a humiliating transformation – is the most gripping aspect of the story, driven by Tamsin Greig’s fantastic, double-edged performance as both the sensible adult and the fool.
Where? National Theatre, SE1 9PX
When? 2pm, 7.30pm Saturday 4th March – 13th May 2017
Travel? Waterloo tube and overground