Culture Magazine

Twelfth Night at The Globe Sees Stephen Fry’s First Theatre Appearance in Years

By Periscope @periscopepost
Stephen Fry Stephen Fry as Malvolio in a previous production of Twelfth Night. Photocredit: axel – …after the tones…

The background

Tim Carroll’s all-male, period dress production of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night has been revided at The Globe, satrring Stephen Fry as Malvolio in a long-awaited stage comeback, since he left in 1995 after a doomed production of Simon Gray’s Cell Mates, going off the rails after a bad review in The Financial Times. Malvolio is the steward gulled into believing that his employer, Olivia (here played by Mark Rylance), is in love with him; he is instructed to appear in front of her in yellow stockings, which he does, to much amusement. Johnny Flynn plays Viola, and Liam Brennan is Orsino. The play will transfer to the Apollo in Shaftesbury Avenue from November 2nd; critics, banned from the opening night, are invited to the show from November 17th.

One of the all-time Shakespearian greats

Dominic Cavendish of The Telegraph (who paid to be there) said it was “brave” of Fry to “return in a role around which the specter of mental illness flits.” Fry “doesn’t dig – as yet – especially deep”, but he does chart “the pride and humiliating fall of the man with understated actorly elan.” This production “is ensemble theater at its finest,” but Rylance’s performance “puts the production among all-time Shakespeare greats.”

Twitter was rather pleased with the production:

Absolutely loved twelfth night at globe. Standing up for three hours was pretty hard work, but loved it.Mark Rylance was superb as olivia…

— Daisy Bowie-Sell (@Daisy5660) September 26, 2012


Brilliant production of Twelfth Night at The Globe last night – especially Mark Rylance. And what a venue; a long overdue visit.

— Jon Attaway (@JonAttaway) September 26, 2012

Fry’s not brilliant, but he’ll grow into it

The Sarahspoutsoff blog said that The Globe was “just a magnificent setting.” And the play was “great. Played full on for laughs and they got them.” Rylance is worth it, too, able to “convey every inuendo [sic], every slight winsomeness, every beat of melancholy.” In fact, he’s so good, that “One forgets entirely this is Shakespeare. This is sheer fun and enjoyment.” As for the maid, well she’s got “perfect comedy timing.” Fry was “good. But not brilliant. Too much like Stephen Fry. Who I love.” Sarahspoutsoff suggested, somewhat tautologically, that Fry should “push it to the edge more and be more extreme in his portrayal, but this was his first night and I think he’ll warm in to it.”

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog