Thursday February 21 6:57 am

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

“Twelfth Night or What You Will” - Review by Alan Bresloff


“Twelfth Night” imagines a world opposites have taken over. Hot is cold, down means up and the characters contained within this story are faced with situations that will have you rolling in the aisles. Be careful if you are seated in the first row. You may find actors speaking directly to you about what you are seeing on stage.

This is one of Shakespeare’s best. It is slapstick, filled with mistaken identities, crazed romantic interests, twins who were separated as children ( one male, one female, but can our other characters tell them apart?), lovers and louts, some lovers who are louts and other louts who want to be lovers. Confused? That’s okay. Your are supposed to watch this production to be taken away from our crazy world in which politicians tell lies and then tell more lies to cover up the lies they told us earlier were not lies. See, life imitates the writings of centuries ago by a far less educated man than one would expect could give us such great works.

This is a hard play in which to give you a synopsis. I can tell you we are in Illyria. I can also tell you that the story involves twins that were separated when their boat went down, each one believing that the other was gone. There is a girl, Viola (well played by Jennifer Latimore) who in order to get a position pretends to be a male. Her brother, Sebastian ( Luce Metrius) does not appear right away, but when he does, his back story will take you by surprise. Olivia ( a delightful performance by Andrea San Miguel ( a newcomer to Writers that I am sure will be back for years to come) falls in love with Sebastian, or is it Viola? Olivia, on the other hand is loved and adored by her manservant, Malvollo ( Sean Fortunato will astound you with his character). The letter scene that Malvollo has as a ruse by other nobles, is an amazing comedy bit that will bring back memories of old TV shows such as “Laugh In”, “The Carol Burnett Show” and even “The Steve Allen Hour”.

He doesn’t do it alone! The added touches of Kevin Gudahl as Sir Toby Beach, Mary Williamson as Fabian and the incredible Scott Parkinson as Sir Andrew Aguecheek make for a comedy sketch that will have you laughing even hours later. This scene could stand on its own two feet and be reason enough to get thee to the theatre! The storyline however, allows for Fortunato’s character to go a bit crazed over the occurances. From this we all learn a bit of a lesson. Seeing the truths that lay before us is one of the Play’s themes. People tend to see only what they want to see. This is true even today.

The other cast members in this slick fast paced two acts of glorious theater are as follows:

William Brown as Feste ( Brown is a true lover of the Bard and it shows), Casey Hoekstra as Antnio and Curlo, Nik Kmiecik as several characters and a musician and John Henry Roberts in several roles. Matthew C, Yee plays Duke Orsini who is in love with one twin and is loved by the other. Which is which, you have to see for yourselves.The last (but certainly not least) character is Maria, played to perfection by one of Chicago’s favorites, Karen Janes Woditsch. What a great cast and under the solid direction of Halberstam, we have two-hours-40 minutes of pure artistry (with one intermission).

The set (William Boles) is very functional allowing for us to see from every seat in the house. Mara Blumenfeld’s costumes are a delight. One might think that Halberstam gave up some of his prized wardrobe to produce them. The lighting (John Culbert) and sound (Josh Schmidt, who also did the original music) is terrific and the fight direction w
as by Matt Hawkins. Rachel Flesher handled the intimacy direction ( this is something new in the world of theater).

No matter what you think about the works of Shakespeare, put those thoughts in the bottom drawer, call the box office at 847-242-6000 and get your tickets.

This show will run through December 16th with performances as follows:

Tuesdays 7:30 p.m.
Wednesdays 7:30 p.m. some select Wednesday afternoons
Thursdays 7:30 p.m.
Fridays 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Sundays 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Tickets range from $35-$80 and can be purchased at the box office, by the above phone or online at

Street parking as well as at the train station is all free. The train stops a short walk away, so there are no excuses for missing this one, except your not contacting the theater.