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Stellar acting, clever humor revitalize “Twelfth Night”

Masterpiece: A person’s greatest piece of work. While this is a vague definition of the astounding performance of “Twelfth Night,” put on by the Bradley theater, it is nevertheless the only word that describes everything this magnificent play has to offer.
From the superb casting that placed every actor in their destined roles to the clever humor that is present in every scene, “Twelfth Night” is unquestionably one of the best plays I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. It’s witty, captivating, emotional and at times down right dirty with its unapologetic sense of humor that will have you bursting at the seams with laughter.
I can’t even begin to count the number of times I was in tears whenever a character conveyed some type of sexual innuendo or played a dastardly trick on an unsuspecting character.
All this and more came from an author who has been dead for more than 400 years, William Shakespeare, and is still able to make people of the 21st century smile with glee and well up with joyful tears from one memorable scene to the next.
However, this play wouldn’t be half as good without the stellar actors who knew each character inside and out. Every actor fits each of their assigned roles like a glove and consistenly captured the essence of each scene that was placed before them.
The snide hilarity produced by the satisfyingly grim Malvolio (Andrew Kuhlman) and the cleverly obnoxious antics performed by Feste (Jeremy Behrens) never failed to make me giggle out loud, especially Feste with his perverse tricks and cleverly devious one-liners.
The lead of the show, Viola (Krystal Uhl), also puts on a magnificent performance with her unabated confidence and intellectual prowess, making her portrayal of a woman disguised as a man more believable than I ever thought possible. As we follow her from the tragic shipwreck where she supposedly lost her brother, to her transformation into a young man-servant, we see an undeniable evolution as Viola comes to understand what she has gotten herself involved in and what she must do in order to make things right.
At the end, we no longer see a helpless girl lost on the open shore, but a self-confident woman who has a greater understanding of what it’s like to be a different person and the challenges that come with it. This type of emotional depth can only be portrayed by the most adept of actors, and it shines through perfectly in not just the lead’s performance but every character.
The story itself is both clever yet satisfyingly cliche as everyone falls in love in the end, making for an expected yet endearing conclusion that neatly ties up every character’s story in a glorious red bow.
In order to tie up all of these loose ends though, the play has an expectedly long length, clocking in around 3 hours. But rest assured, it will be the best 3 hours that you’ll ever dedicate to such a masterful performance, as the play never loses momentum from scene to scene.
There is no doubt in my mind that after seeing this play in its entirety and writing this lengthy review that I have witnessed something magical. I know it sounds cliche, but how else do you describe such an unadulterated masterpiece without making it sound like an understatement?
Between the talented actors who put every bit of their souls into these characters to the expertly proven casting capabilities by the phenomenal director Steve Snider, there is no doubt in my mind that no matter who you are this play will change your perceptions of Shakespeare’s work forever.
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