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  Twelfth Night, Or What You Will Reviews
Twelfth Night, Or What You Will
Twelfth Night, Or What You Will

Twelfth Night, Or What You Will
Writers Theatre
Thru - Dec 16, 2018

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Writers Theatre

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune- Recommended

"...Many of Chicago’s classical heavy-hitters are here — the likes of William Brown, Scott Parkinson, Karen Janes Woditsch, Kevin Gudahl, Sean Fortunato — but they’re in the comic, as distinct from the romantic, sections of the show. Sir Andrew Augecheek — within whose bounteous boundaries Parkinson dives Mark Rylance-style deep — is a hefty partier, as indeed is Sir Toby Belch (Gudahl). These jocular scenes of merriment are tempered by the cruel treatment of Malvolio (and Fortunato lets you see that pain) and by Maria’s innate understanding that hanging around heavy boozers is fraught with peril. Woditsch, who is superb, makes that perfectly clear, just as Brown’s Feste reaches and finds a moral center for a wildly imperfect world. He’s like the Ghost of Christmas past, present and future, all rolled together in his beard."
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Chris Jones



Chicago Sun Times- Highly Recommended

"...Halberstam’s cast uniformly nails the comedy and the tragedy. Latimore’s Cesario is a spirited, smart heroine of terrific resourcefulness and equally intense emotion. Parkinson makes Sir Andrew’s cluelessness alternately hilarious and heart-breaking. You’ll get a lump in your throat when you realize the depth of feeling Sir Andrew has for his horse."
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Catey Sullivan



Chicago Reader- Somewhat Recommended

"...The first half of the play is extraordinary; a scene where Malvolio (a delightful Sean Fortunato) receives a letter supposedly from his beloved is exquisitely staged and wrung for every possible laugh. The second half feels considerably less thoughtfully staged and phoned-in by comparison. Master writer though the Bard may have been, no comedy ever written has fully justified a run time of 2 hours and 25 minutes, and the second half dutifully rambles on to the obligatory conclusion amidst more than a few yawns. Overall, though, the production is light, fizzy fun, showcasing an across-the-board cast of solid actors."
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Sheri Flanders



Windy City Times- Somewhat Recommended

"...So this isn't the vivacious, often-boisterous comedy many regard as the defining quality of Twelfth Night, and probably not the production for 10- or 12-year-olds who've never seen it before; but you'll be rewarded if you go with that in mind and let it "play on" for you, although you might experience a tinge of sadness at the end."
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Jonathan Abarbanel



Around The Town Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...Are you someone who has a problem with the theaters that do Shakespeare? I know there are many readers out there who have a difficult time understanding the works of the Bard. I know that even my wife hesitates attending Shakespeare's works unless there is a great dinner before or a party after. She does make it through the comedies, as most others do. SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT! No matter your feelings about the works of Shakespeare, the current production of "Twelfth Night or What You Will", now on the stage at Writers Theatre in Glencoe is probably the funniest play you might ever see. Under the leadership of Michael Halberstam and a cast of many of Chicago's most notable performers, this is classic comedy conveying a marvelous story."
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Alan Bresloff



NewCity Chicago- Recommended

"...The accessibility of the Bard’s work is a discussion point in parts of the theatrical community. In verse, the obtuse language serves as a barrier that can lead one to wonder if Shakespeare will someday fall out of fashion. In the case of this production, however, the text is a worthy combination of old and new. And with WT artistic director Michael Halberstam at the helm, this production is in for smooth sailing, unlike Olivia and Sebastian."
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Amanda Finn



Chicago Theatre Review- Highly Recommended

"...There’s a great deal of additional fine technical support behind this production, as well, making it a feast for both the eye and ear. William Boles’ Mediterranean scenic design is as authentic-looking as it is romantic. It features sun-bleached stucco walls, windows that look out onto the deep blue Adriatic Sea and a practical, water-filled fountain, into which coins are tossed. Theatergoers will almost think tropical ocean breezes are blowing on them. John Culbert’s solar-drenched lighting bathes everyone and everything in sunny delight. And Josh Schmidt completes the artistry by creating a sumptuous sound design with original music that fully enhances this production. All of this is, of course, merely icing on the cake. But it reminds us that this play is, after all, one of the Bard’s brightest and most buoyant of all his comedies, and a great alternative choice for the holiday season."
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Colin Douglas



Chicagoland Theater Reviews- Highly Recommended

"...The Writers Theatre production is a holiday gift to playgoers ready to enjoy an accessible Shakespeare comedy in an intimate theater with an agreeable mix of younger and older performers. I left the theater carrying vivid memories of Sean Fortunato’s tight-lipped Malvolio and his mighty fall. Andrea San Miguel’s Olivia is the acting revelation of the season for me. All in all, a very nice season’s greeting from the Writers to Chicagoland theatergoers."
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Dan Zeff



Chicago Theater and Arts- Highly Recommended

"...Its outstanding cast and superb direction bring out all the deliberate jests, entertaining horseplay, subplots and musical interludes that mark the Bard’s wicked sense of humor."
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Jodie Jacobs



Chicago On Stage- Highly Recommended

"...Watching William Brown assay the role of Feste in Writers Theatre’s new production of Twelfth Night is an absolute joy. Brown’s physical presence and powerful voice add layers to the iconic role of Shakespeare’s witty and thoughtful fool who lies at the center of this rich comedy. Casting Brown was a brilliant stroke: the actor could not possibly be more suited for Feste’s dry, rich wit. And he is just one of many wonderful features of this production, a somewhat darker read of the play than you might be used to but nonetheless tremendous fun."
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Karen Topham



PicksInSix- Highly Recommended

"...Deftly directed by Michael Halberstam, the performances are all first-rate. Nevertheless, Sean Fortunato as the Puritanical Malvolio and Scott Parkinson as benighted Aguecheek merit special mention."
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Ed Tracy