While not quite dazzling, director Melissa Chalsma's staging of Shakespeare's comedy Twelfth Night, about a tangled love triangle, is funny, festive and true to the Bard's spirit. The plot turns around Viola (Kalean Ung), a feisty young woman impersonating a man; her employer, Count Orsino (Ryan Vincent Anderson), whom she adores; and Olivia (Claudia de Vasco), a noblewoman passionately smitten with Viola's male alter ego, Cesario. Around this befuddled trio unfold the antics of Olivia's household help and of two renegade noblemen: her uncle, the perpetually soused Sir Toby Belch (Danny Campbell), and his equally debauched sidekick, Sir Anthony Aguecheek (Andre Martin). The portraits of all these characters are adeptly executed and supremely funny. Less engaging are the scenes involving the lovers. These lack sufficient chemistry and conviction — the aspects of a performance that transport us beyond the text. Though serviceable, Ung's presence is still defined by her relationship with Shakespeare's language, and the encounters between her character and Olivia are not nearly as visceral or intimate as they could be. Anderson's rendering of the Count leaves much interior emotional space unexplored. In the end, the production's crowning asset is David Melville's Fool — nimble in his moves, irreverent in his attitude, incisive in his wit. It's a gem of a performance in which are coalesced all the disparate elements of this mighty work.
Thursdays-Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: June 26. Continues through Aug. 31, 2014
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