Saturday, June 3, 2023

TWELFTH NIGHT • St. Louis Shakespeare Festival

The high times in Shakespeare’s romantic comedy are dialed up to eleven in St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s Latin-spiced production of Twelfth Night. A distinctly “Miami Beach” inspired setting steps in for the Kingdom of Illyria, and the Bard’s four hundred year-old laughs are given a fresh take via Spanish lines peppered throughout, traditional Latin songs and electronic beats.

Viola (Gabriela Saker) and her twin brother Sebastian (Avi Roque) are shipwrecked and tossed up onto foreign shores. Exiled and separated from her brother, Viola decides to disguise herself as a man, change her name to Cesario, and try to get a job with soccer star, Duke Orsino (Felipe Carrasco). This is when her entanglement in the love lives of the locals sets the plot in motion. Viola, now Cesario, is employed as a page for the lovesick Orsino, who longs for the wealthy and glamorous Olivia (Jasmine Cheri Rush), who, grieving for her brother, pines for no one. Cesario, who has fallen for Orsino, is sent to woo Olivia, who couldn’t care less about Orsino but takes an immediate shine to Cesario. It’s a hot mess.