Ensconsed within the verdant Topanga Canyon hillside ampitheater of the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum at the beginning of last night’s opening performance of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” I realized I can’t let another six years go between visits to this glorious place. And by the end of the marvelously high-spirited production I further realized I’d just enjoyed the best Shakespeare I’d ever seen. And while I ain’t no pedigree’d dramaturg or anything so pretentious as all that, I’ve certainly seen my fair share of Shakespearian theatricalitations — included a quarter-dozen or so “Twelfths” — over my many theater-going years. Hands down and doubtless this one topped them all.
Under the direction of Ellen Geer who opted to dress the 400-something-year-old comedy in more contemporary Edwardian times and wardrobe while staying faithful to the Bard’s plot and language, the results are fresh and fantastic and the audience was treated to a cast of dedicated and enthusiastic actors supplying laugh-out-loud performances that kept the show’s momemtum at a high level throughout the rowdy and ribald proceedings.
I won’t trouble you with the standout players (they all soar) or bore you with a plot synopsis (that’s what Google’s for), nor will I wax adamant about how you absolutely positively should go (even though you should). But if you’re on the looksee for a unique night out and a marvelous opportunity to have a helluva good time watching a bunch of actors having a helluva good time, pack up a bottle of wine and some grub to enjoy in the gardens before the show and tally ho!