Review Round Up: Twelfth Night, Young Vic Theatre

This musical adaptation of Twelfth Night features music and lyrics by Shaina Taub and is directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah and Oskar Eustis. Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews…. 


The Guardian: *** ” The songs also give scope to the strong community chorus who execute Lizzi Gee’s choreography with absolute precision: they include, in a welcome touch, a handful of seniors and are ultimately indistinguishable from the professionals.”

The Times: **** “It’s a fancy dress party, basically. Think Notting Hill carnival with everyone in disguise. Confusing? I think so. But that’s the whole point of Shakespeare’s gender-bending comedy.”

The Stage: **** “It is accessible and energetic, endearing and enjoyable – theatre that extends a welcome to the community in which it is based and to the wider world.”

WhatsOnStage: **** “This very loose musical version of Shakespeare’s comedy with music and lyrics by Shaina Taub, is far from perfect, but its benign heart and inclusive warmth make it a welcoming touchstone for the kind of theatre Kwei-Armah wants to produce.”

The Telegraph: *** “This show won’t change anyone’s life – but, with a big-finale shower of confetti strewing the auditorium, it amply affirms a change of management. Prepare to be Kwame-d.”

Culture Whisper: **** “New artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah starts his tenure with a joyous blast of theatricality, and a fresh, intersectional take on Elizabethan drama.”

Time Out: **** “There is a tremendous amount of goodwill out there for Kwei-Armah and this joyous musical almost feels like a manifestation of that – a living firework celebrating the homecoming of Britain’s most prominent black artistic director.”

A Younger Theatre: “slick, easy to follow, genuine and (of all qualities to aspire most to in a piece of new work), powerful. It is packed with musical genius and original context. What better way to create a stunning musical than to borrow the cracking plot and language of Shakespeare?”

Monstagigz : **** “It’s a start of special promise for Kwei-Armah at this venue and, despite not being staged outdoors, it brings a real breath of fresh theatrical air to the Young Vic.”

Evening Standard: **** “Kwei-Armah’s production, which premiered in New York in 2016 and credits Oskar Eustis of the city’s Public Theater as co-director, takes a while to find its rhythm. But in the end it has an irrepressible sense of fun, and the message is a clear one: the themes of his new regime will be accessibility, empathy, generosity and inclusiveness.”

The Arts Desk: *** “The production is at its best when sweetest and least strenuous: when, for instance, a gossip-minded subset of the community chorus that are part of the company takes centre-stage to inform us of “the word on the street”, or at moments that find Dew’s erotically reawakened Olivia  chasing a half-dressed bedmate outdoors, unaware that she has her mysterious intermediary confused with the unrecognisable Viola’s hot-to-trot twin, Sebastian (played winningly by Jyuddah Jaymes).”

Partially Obstructed View: ” As a musical this doesn’t reinvent the wheel but if Kwei-Armah wanted to launch things with a party he’s succeeded.”

Mature Times: “The best way to enjoy this Twelfth Night is to forget Shakespeare and enjoy Taub’s music and lyrics and the buoyant carnival energy of the cast.”

Twelfth Night continues to play at the Young Vic Theatre until the 17th November. For more information visit:


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