Don’t miss the last performance of OVO’s Twelfth Night on Zoom
- Credit: Supplied by Debbie Heath
Debbie Heath reviews OVO’s interactive online musical production of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.
Theatre makers have had to work even more creatively than usual to deliver the goods during lockdown.
Ever innovative, OVO took their immersive theatre making one step further by using Zoom to create a live and interactive performance of Twelfth Night.
There is one opportunity left on Friday, July 10, when you can attend this amazing virtual live theatre performance and I strongly encourage you to do so.
This production is based on their open-air version of 2019 and as director Adam Nichols explained, performing live on Zoom presented some similar challenges to the cast and crew.
Outside they are at the mercy of the weather and other unpredictables. Via Zoom, it is their own internet connections that present the challenges.
Flora Squires, who played Viola with aplomb in her first OVO production, told the post-show discussion group that at one point her internet went down completely and she actually got kicked out of the call.
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Simon Nicholas, the film director, had to train the cast to be self-sufficient techies – not only staying in character throughout but changing their own scenery and sound.
The play was appropriately re-set in a 1920s cruise ship, which emphasised the themes of hedonism, and transgenderism.
The audience, made up of about 50 home screens, were asked to dress in the 1920s style and join in the action of the play at points by wearing scary masks and making a lot of noise – it was very rewarding.
We arranged to go with five other households. Seeing our friends pop up on screen throughout made us realise how we had missed having a shared live theatrical experience.
The audience were guided through not only the plot but also their own technical responsibilities by Will Pattle as Fabian, reimagined as the ship’s croupier.
He was not only a very effective MC but thoroughly believable in his role.
A highlight of the play was his well choreographed fight scene with David Widdowson as Antonio in the neighbouring window.
The entire cast deserves praise for their strong, playful performances, technical abilities and superb teamwork.
However, a particular mention must go to Faith Turner who played Malvolia with a comic sensitivity that worked well.
Malvolio, traditionally male and played as a puffed up popinjay, is thoroughly deserving of his downfall but this time we felt sad at the outcome. It was an interesting change of interpretation.
The fantastic performances, technical and set design were further enhanced by OVO’s use of music.
Modern classics such as Britney Spears’ Oops!... I Did It Again were performed in the jazz style.
There were some outstanding singers in the cast, including Hannah Francis-Baker. These songs, although pre-recorded to prevent buffering time lapses, were still authentic as created via Zoom.
Once again I have left an OVO production feeling superbly grateful to the whole creative team for giving me such an enjoyable evening.
However, the buzz and glow I got from this musical was the biggest yet.
To share the experience with friends and audience members from all over the world emphasised how culturally starved COVID has left us until now.
We really felt on board that cruise ship. OVO proved that a bit of imagination can take you anywhere.
I urge you to make the journey yourself this Friday.