Just in time for the holidays, Lakewood Playhouse presents “Twelfth Night” by William Shakespeare. Like other romantic comedies penned by the bard, this one centers on mistaken identity. Viola (Maggie Lofquist) is shipwrecked and loses contact with her brother Sebastian (Alex Smith), who she believes to be deceased. Much gender switching and ribald humor marks this Christmas classic. The play begins with a scene that could be a modern American household. A couple are preparing for guests for the holidays. A Christmas tree sits on the stage. The lights above are green and red, bathing the floor with the colors of the season. Clifford Peddicord does a good job as Sir Toby Belch, in all his drunken debauchery. He is over the top, as this character demands. He and Sir Andrew (Russ Coffey) get some audience participation going when they ask ladies to dance during one scene. So, any female customers in the front row, be prepared for a brief time on the dance floor. Kait Mahoney does a fine job in the role of Antonia. The play starts with her as a gracious hostess, eagerly welcoming people to her home. Later she brings the bold, aggressive nature of the character to life. Her sword fighting scenes add a useful element of action to the play.
Ian Lamberton steals the show as Malvolio, the uptight, straitlaced head servant in the household of Lady Olivia (Angelica Duncan). His prim and proper approach has made him a target of the cruel humor of Sir Toby, Sir Andrew and Maria (Deya Ozborn), who play a cruel trick to make him think Olivia is secretly in love with him. Lamberton does some fine character development, transforming Malvolio from the lower-class servant into an ambitious dandy who thinks he is refined enough to marry into the upper crust. The props are brought on and off stage throughout the play by the cast. Dixon King, the prop master, has prepared them well for the task. Kudos to costume designer Marcie Hagerman. All of the characters looked very good in their outfits. The best of all was Malvolio when he appeared in his yellow tights with the black straps. Antonia looked great in her mostly black outfit. The play has some brief scenes of men placing their hands upon women. It may be a bit too risqué for young children, although much of the more adult nature of the dialogue would likely go over their heads.
“Twelfth Night” runs through Dec. 2. For more information on tickets and show times, visit http://www.lakewoodplayhouse.org or call (253) 588-0042