The moment you lay eyes on the magnificent set, you know: This is no ordinary youth production. A far, and far more professional, cry from what most of us recall of elementary school recitals, Lumina Studio Theatre brings us a delightful romp through one of Shakespeare’s cherished comedies.
Set in “Illyrialand,” a carnival landscape filled with clowns, dwarves, bearded ladies, Siamese twins, and other eccentrics, this Twelfth Night, is made all of whimsy and cotton candy.
The set—strung lights overhead, a stunning painted mural, a center ring and two sideshow stages, designed by Jim Porter—places the action in a world of bright colors and multiple attentions. Characters travel through the space in tilt-a-whirl cars and juggle their way through transitions.
The company has opted to keep things light and bright with their adaptation. They excise a few scenes, including the imprisonment and ridicule of Malvolio, and instead add in some musical numbers, including a song drawn from other Shakespearean lines and some dancing dwarves.
Director David Minton has staged the action in such a way that no scene feels cluttered, even with a cast of over 40 young performers, ranging from very tiny people to teenagers, which is no small feat. And more impressively, each of those 40+ performers play their roles with confidence, grace, and talent.
As Viola, Jadyn Brick showcases a laudable singing voice and the dexterity of playing a female character who’s playing a male character. Her scenes with Orsinio (Thomas Schoppart) are both humorous and poignant, and she demonstrates great range in the early moments of the play, when she believes her twin brother dead.
Toby Belch, played by Elizabeth Carney, is as round and drunk and ridiculous as one could hope. Flanked by Aguecheek (Grace Sperber-Whyte), Olivia (Keegan Vernon-Clay), and her servants Maria (Sophia Falvey) and Fabiana (Raina Greifer), Sir Belch’s scenes are all high-energy and mischievous, his posse colorful in demeanor as well as clothes.
Closes December 14, 2014
Lumina Studio Theatre at
Silver Spring Black Box
8641 Colesville Road
Silver Spring, MD
2 hour, 30 minutes, with 1 intermission
Saturday and Sunday
Tickets: call (800) 838-3006, or
Green Cast and Plum Cast.
And speaking of color: In full clown makeup, a colored jumper, and a red rubber nose, Eva Parks is exuberant as Feste. Navigating accents, sight gags, and a tremendous amount of physical comedy, she steals many a scene—and makes it look easy.
The ensemble—who serve as circus performers, players in the play-within-a-play, and various citizens of Illyrialand—grant the show much of its energy, demonstrating in every scene that great professionalism and confidence are possible at truly any age.
It is astonishing that all of this time and talent only comes together in four performances (only two per cast!). This youth production rivals many of its adult peers, and the tremendous work that Lumina is doing in Silver Spring should be seen by as many people as possible.
Plus, the performers are clearly having a great time in this play. You don’t want to miss the fun.
Note: There are two casts: the green cast and the plum cast. This review is of the plum cast.
Closes Dec 14
Leslie Weisman . DCMetroTheaterArts This is Shakespeare for the Google-cum-Colbert generation, dazzlingly presented by the up-and-coming (and by the evidence presented here, at breakneck speed) one
Busy Graham says
Fabulous review of a fabulous production! Thank you Jennifer. Thank you Lorraine and DC Theatre Scene, for recognizing and appreciating the extraordinary work of Lumina Studio Theatre.