Twelfth Night (Barnes & Noble Shakespeare)

Twelfth Night (Barnes & Noble Shakespeare) - David Scott Kastan, Claire McEachern, William Shakespeare Twelfth Night is a mash-up of other Shakespeare comedies. Combining the hijinks of Much Ado About Nothing, the cross-dressing infiltration of As You Like It and the fickle infatuations of A Midsummers Night’s Dream (minus the fairy dust), we are left with this Frankensteinian play. A patchwork of parts that lumbers along. But it lumbers with some rhythm. Twelfth Night is a play filled with music which I’m sure makes the stage production much more enjoyable than simply reading the printed page.

The cast lacks the spark of their counterparts elsewhere in Shakespeare’s work. Sir Toby is a watered down version of Falstaff. Malvolio is arrogant, but too submissive and gullible to be thought of as a real villian. And Feste, the jester who is probably the sharpest of the lot, never really puts his hand into the action.

What’s best about Shakespeare’s romantic comedies is the repartee between the couples. An element that is noticeably lacking here. In the end, as I read, I spent more time thinking about his other plays than this one. So, even though I give it a lower rating than most of his other plays, keep in mind, this is Shakespeare. He’s still better than most even when he’s bad.