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Twelfth Night – Red Rose Chain review at The Theatre in the Forest Rendlesham

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With fantastic developments proceeding apace at their new permanent home in Ipswich (the whimsically named, Grade II*-listed Gippeswyk Hall), Red Rose Chain continues to let everybody know what an interesting and inventive troupe it is by presenting a very entertaining and amusing Twelfth Night in Rendlesham’s Theatre in the Forest.

Set against a simple background of two beach huts (one mauve and called Orsino, the other red and called Olivia) this nautically-based interpretation by director Joanna Carrick delights from start to finish. We have seagulls speaking blank verse, Antonio is a life-size puppet dog manipulated by three performers and the unfortunate Malvolio, after having been incarcerated in a Punch and Judy theatre, finally exits through the audience by flip-flapping his way out in a pair of swimming flippers.

Edward Day gives a wonderfully mannered performance as Malvolio, all arch looks and stylised movements. He is gulled by a sprightly trio: David Newborn as a robust Sir Toby Belch, Christopher Ashman as a fey and amusing Sir Andrew Aguecheek, continually astride his pantomime horse, and Owen Morgan, a resourceful Feste. Joanna Carrick is a feisty Maria with a heart of gold.

Lauren St Paul gives a beautifully judged performance as Viola and her final moments as the woman Orsino has been desiring are winningly triumphant. Fleur Keith is impressive as Olivia – more overtly raucous than perhaps one expects from the character, it is nonetheless a compelling interpretation. Katie Chilvers contributes much to the production as Valentine.

And there’s some special theatrical magic as daylight fades and the lights pick out the performers among the trees.

Production Information

The Theatre in the Forest, Rendlesham, July 27-August 28

William Shakespeare
Joanna Carrick
David Newborn
Cast includes
David Newborn, Joanna Carrick, Christopher Ashman, Lauren St Paul
Running time
2hrs 30mins

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