Regent's Park Stages Queer Take on Twelfth Night

The Regent's Park Open Air Theatre has launched its 2024 summer season with a modern, queer-inspired production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. The play, directed by Owen Horsley, features a gender-swapped cast and explores themes of identity, sexuality, and same-sex love.

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Bijay Laxmi
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Regent's Park Stages Queer Take on Twelfth Night

Regent's Park Stages Queer Take on Twelfth Night

The Regent's Park Open Air Theatre has kicked off its summer 2024 season with a modern, queer-inspired production of Shakespeare's beloved romantic comedy, Twelfth Night. Directed by Owen Horsley, the play features Evelyn Miller as Viola and Anna Francolini as Olivia, exploring themes of identity, sexuality, and same-sex love in a fresh and exciting interpretation.

Set in a Mediterranean-inspired queer drinking hole, Horsley's direction modernizes the classic play while maintaining its traditional core, making it more approachable for a 21st-century audience. The production's unique take on the storyline includes gender-swapped main roles, adding a new layer of depth to the exploration of identity and attraction.

Evelyn Miller shines as Viola, the woesome maid who disguises herself as her presumed dead brother. Miller's performance captures the character's vulnerability and strength, navigating the complexities of gender and desire with nuance and charm. Anna Francolini dominates the stage as the self-pitying Olivia, bringing comedic timing and natural humor to the role.

The open-air theatre's garden setting enhances the play's mystical quality, providing a perfect venue for a summer evening's entertainment. The staging is simple yet effective, making good use of the outdoor space. The band remains on stage throughout the performance, adding to the production's energy and humor. "The music, including a musical phrase played in ostinato, sets the tone for the show and adds to its light-hearted humor," noted one critic.

Twelfth Night has a rich history of adaptations and interpretations since its first performance in the early 1600s. The play's themes of love, identity, and gender have resonated with audiences for centuries, inspiring countless productions on stage and screen. Horsley's queer interpretation adds a new chapter to this enduring legacy, demonstrating the timeless relevance of Shakespeare's work.

The Regent's Park Open Air Theatre production of Twelfth Night runs until June 8, 2024. The theatre's garden area offers a magical escape from the hustle and bustle of London, providing a beautiful venue for a pre-show picnic or glass of wine. This crowd-pleasing production brings new life to an old classic, making it a must-see for theatre lovers and a delightful start to the open-air theatre's summer season.

Key Takeaways

  • Regent's Park Open Air Theatre presents a modern, queer-inspired Twelfth Night.
  • Evelyn Miller shines as Viola, and Anna Francolini as Olivia, in a fresh interpretation.
  • The production features a Mediterranean-inspired queer drinking hole setting.
  • The open-air theatre's garden setting enhances the play's mystical quality.
  • The show runs until June 8, 2024, and is a must-see for theatre lovers.