Players rise to the occasion
A risk that is perhaps only worth taking if you’re sure you’ve got some entertaining material to offer your audience regardless of whether it rains or shines.
Linlithgow Players took that risk and offered up a feast of Shakespearean delights in the grounds of Donaldson’s School last weekend.
What…You Will? is a new adaptation of Twelfth Night which weaves modern dialogue with edited speeches from the original text by William Shakespeare. The idea of using contemporary language in the present day came from Eleanor Bain, a member of the group who also acts as script editor on the piece.
In order to create this effectively, the cast had to study Shakespeare’s text and then re-write their own lines.
Only the parts of Viola and Sebastian, the shipwrecked twins, used blank verse and prose which lent weight to the fact they were newcomers to the land of Scotia. As the audience gathered in the sunshine, it was introduced to Viola who explained she was off to find employment with the Duke and, to do this, she would need to disguise herself as a young man.
When we meet the Duke played by Gavin MacDonald, he is presented as an ageing rock star with mid-life crisis leather trousers and an unrequited love issue.
He’s in love with Olivia who isn’t interested in him at all and Viola (now Will) is sent to woo her for him but of course Olivia ends up falling for Viola thinking she is the handsome man-servant, Will, and so the confusion begins!
Liz Drewitt was engaging as Viola, grasping the humour as well as the emotional depth in the language, and was able to simplify the flowery language in her delivery.
Supporting characters highly deserving of a mention include the comedy couple of Uncle Toby and Maria the maid who were particularly entertaining in the famous letter scene.
Ian Stewart was deliciously bawdy and full of buffoonery as the drunken Uncle Toby and Sue Spencer, the Hungarian maid, was mischievous and flirty and absolutely perfectly cast - a fine duo who added great energy and spark to the whole show. The crowning glory, however, would have to be Malcolm, the estate manager - played to perfection by Les Fulton - with a fabulously dour quality and a complementary Highland lilt.
All in all, this was a highly entertaining show with laughs aplenty, great music and lots of lovely surprises. Well worth the ticket price.
Weather permitting, the Players will stage the show again this weekend at Donaldson’s.