Viola and Sebastian – identical twins, tragically torn apart at sea – are swept up to the shores of Illyria, and assume the other is drowned. From an offset of lost hope, each searches for new lives, and thus pursues a tale of hopeless romance, mistaken identity and an underpinning of bittersweet comedy.
Fight in the Dog’s production, assumed by their adapted title, aimed to play out the comedy to the max. Yet this production managed to suck out any comedy that the text offers, managing one moment bordering on amusing when a bin fell over with an actor inside. The text offers rich comedy through the farcical subtleties of misconception and misidentity, yet even the rich comedy of Malvolio’s finding of the letter was delivered at a pace that made it stale.
Creepy is a word that springs to mind when best describing this adaptation; Orsino was unromantic, Malvolio was disturbed and Antonio’s attraction for Sebastian – a relationship that can be made fascinating – crossed the threshold of obsessive to the point where it became offensive to the text.
From characters, performances and set, this production was clumsy; at times so cringeworthy, I had no choice but to laugh and sink my head to my hands. Credit to Sebastian who responded to Antonio the best he could given the situation, yet the weak ensemble gave this the feel of a bad amateur production. Not under rehearsed, just underdeveloped in every way possible.
Thanks to the dishy musician at the back for keeping me awake; if only you’d avoid biting your nails whilst on the stage. We can see you dear!
Review by Joseph Winer
Back by popular demand after a sell out and much talked about one-night-only performance on the actual Twelfth Night at King’s Cross Theatre, Fight in the Dog are returning to London for another one-night-only production of Shakespeare’s best comedy, replete with a cast of twelve of London’s most exciting comedians.
Shakespeare’s text has been abridged for a very 2016 take on this classic story of love, drink, mistaken identity and a prank taken way too far.
The original staging took place on the actual Twelfth Night, 5th January 2016, raising £8,664.90 for the charity Refugee Action and receiving a standing ovation from about 79% of its audience. The show was directed by twice Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Liam Williams and former artistic director of Boundless Theatre, Matt Bulmer, and featured the finest comic talent to be found upon this sceptred-isle This second one-time-only staging will be slightly bigger and slightly better than the last one, marking the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death.
Final cast announced: The Pin, Sheeps, Tessa Coates of Massive Dad, Ellie White, Kieran Hodgson, Joe Bannister, David Elms, Emma Sidi, Matilda Wnek of Beard, Lolly Adefope and Liam Williams plus live music from the band John Bull & The Bandits.
Liam Williams has twice been nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy award for his stand up, created four shows with sketch group Sheeps, has “breathed new life into the sketch show format” as part of BBC’s People Time, written his own series of Blaps for Channel 4 and a series for Radio 4 called Ladhood, and now he takes on his most exciting, least personally profitable project yet.
“Fight in the Dog was established with the intention to bridge the gap between the worlds of theatre and stand-up comedy, aiming to create work that’s as funny as the best comedy and as thought-provoking as the best theatre. We are a collaborative force encouraging audiences to laugh yet look afresh at the world. We work with the most exciting comedy talent of the moment to create ambitious shows that entertain, amuse and impress.“