Twelfth Night

  • Katharine Goodland
  • John O’Connor
Part of the A Directory of Shakespeare in Performance Series book series (DSP)


Robert Joyce’s Twelfth Night brought a delightful evening to its audience. The main plot benefited from lucid performances by Lee McClelland as Olivia, Peter Michael Webster as Orsino, and Davida Manning, charming and feminine even in Violas disguise as Cesario, In the underplot, William Meisle was a convincingly effete and chicken-hearted Sir Andrew and displayed remarkable facial and bodily control in the role. John Field’s Falstaffian Sir Toby, featuring a wine-soaked voice and effective use of the eyes, balanced Meisle’s Andrew admirably. Michael Crosbys Malvolio benefited from clear diction, from the sneer seemingly structured into Crosby’s face, and from effective suggestions of Malvolios sexual hypocrisy. The contrast in lifestyles which is the basis of the subplot emerged cleanly—the two sots have all the warmth and humor, Malvolio all the drive. My only quarrel with the production was its tendency to subordinate language to stage business. Business is important, and Meisle and Fields were wonderfully inventive, but the production tended to desensitize the audience to language, instead of teaching them to listen. A modern audience can learn in the course of an evening to appreciate the flexibility and nuance of Shakespeares prose and poetry. (H. R. Coursen, Shakespeare Quarterly 21 [1970]: 488–89)


Opening Date York Time Comic Character Festival Director Singing Voice 
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Copyright information

© Katharine Goodland and John O’Connor 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katharine Goodland
  • John O’Connor

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