Sixth Night: Shakespeare For Those With Short Attention Spans

Where there is Fringe, there is Shakespeare, and Rolling In The Aisle Productions have returned to Edinburgh with a fresh faced, family friendly adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night that incites laughter and joy whether you are six years old or 60.

Rolling In The Aisle Productions give a new energy and vibrancy to Twelfth Night that is enjoyable for all.

Twelfth Night is known and loved for its love triangles, mischief and gender swapping and these performers take the highlights of Shakespeare’s play and make it accessible to children while keeping the adults interested throughout. Led through the tale by a comic narrator (Thomas Hampson), we shoot from the struggling Viola as she helps the love of her life court the beautiful Olivia, to the cheeky Maria and Sir Toby as they taunt the strict Malvolio.

The cuts in Shakespeare’s script are extreme but the performers make sure that the story makes sense throughout and appear to whole heartedly appreciate the language, performing it with passion. The summaries between scenes, performed in modern English, are witty and well done including a weather report to portray the storm with a member of the ensemble squirting the reporter with water while another amusingly fumbles with a broken umbrella behind.

The delivery of lines sometimes gets lost in the action but the performance thrives on the energy and the story. Furthermore, the troupe play with the idea of traditional gender swapping, a concept that originated during the Elizabethan era, using girls in traditionally male roles, such as the romantic Duke Orsino, to play with masculinity as well as femininity.

As far as comedy goes, the comic timing is usually perfect and the audience participation was organised and fun without appearing to drag unwilling spectators into the show. For many Shakespeare may be too complex or overdone but Rolling In The Aisle Productions give a new energy and vibrancy to Twelfth Night that is enjoyable for all.

Reviews by Caitlin Powell

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The Blurb

How do you bring Shakespeare to the Edinburgh Fringe? Cut one of his most famous plays in half and give it a witty title. Rolling In The Aisle Productions return to Edinburgh with an abridged version of William Shakespeare's classic comedy Twelfth Night. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be thoroughly amused as our company trawl through this gem of a play, with the hope of reigning you in and capturing your attention for a whole solid hour. This is Shakespeare as you've never seen him before!