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Shakespearian Romance in Door County with 'Twelfth Night'

Jul. 11, 2017
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Photo credit: Len Villano

Former Milwaukee Repertory Theatre Artistic Director Joseph Hanreddy directs an outdoor show in Door County this summer. Hanreddy’s talent for bringing together disparate elements into a cohesive ensemble makes for a richly rendered staging of the romantic comedy Twelfth Night with Door Shakespeare.

There’s a distinctive “Old Milwaukee Rep” feel to the production. Longtime Rep actors Mark Corkins and Deborah Staples are featured in a cast that also includes Milwaukee favorite Norman Moses. Mark Corkins is particularly witty as the aggressively iconoclastic Sir Toby Belch. Corkins’ commanding presence serves the role well as it plays around the corners of the comedy’s central love triangle. Deborah Staples conjures a compellingly breathless portrayal of Olivia as she falls for a young man she can never have. Elyse Edelman plays charming shades of frustration in the role of a woman pretending to be a boy whom Olivia comes to love, but who is really in love with the man who loves Olivia. (Shakespearian romance is never easy!)

Hanreddy allows a somewhat tragic counterpoint to the romantic comedy with darker shades of Norman Moses as Malvolio. Moses conjures crisp precision for the role of the servant who secretly loves Olivia. As Sir Toby and company conspire to make a fool of him, we feel the folly of love unravel the core of a man undone by his own passion.

Music is quite famously mentioned in the opening line of the play. It ties together the rhythm and action of the comedy as contemporary acoustic sounds to the songs of Feste the Jester played here with an earthy, organic charisma by composer and music director Scott McKenna Campbell.

Twelfth Night runs in rotation with The Heart of Robin Hood through Aug. 18 at Björklunden in Sister Bay. For tickets, call 920-839-1500 or visit doorshakespeare.com.

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