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Twelfth Night

Plot Summary

Viola and her twin brother Sebastian have been shipwrecked off the coast of Illyria. Each believes that the other has been drowned. Viola disguises herself as a boy and, under the name of Cesario, enters the service of the duke Orsino. The duke sends Cesario to woo the lady Olivia on his behalf, but Olivia falls in love with the lovely 'boy'. Viola/Cesario, meanwhile, has fallen in love with Orsino. Sebastian is saved by the sea captain Antonio and he too arrives in Illyria. Malvolio, Olivia's steward, disapproves of the other members of her household – her kinsman Sir Toby Belch, his friend Sir Andrew Aguecheek and the jester Feste. Led by the ingenuity of Maria, Olivia's waiting-woman, these three plot Malvolio's downfall. Olivia meets Sebastian and, mistaking him for Cesario, arranges for them to be secretly married. Further confusion follows upon mistakes as to the identity of the twins. Orsino is furious at the apparent falseness of his page, but, with the eventual meeting of the twins, true identities are revealed and Orsino recognizes his love for Viola.

RSC Staging History 1960-2007

1960 RST/1960-61 Aldwych: Peter Hall
Lila De Nobili (design); Michael Northen (lighting); Raymond Leppard (music)


Dorothy Tutin (Viola), Barbara Barnett/Geraldine McEwan (Olivia), Derek Godfrey (Orsino), Eric Porter (Malvolio), Patrick Wymark (Sir Toby Belch), Max Adrian (Feste), Ian Richardson/Richard Johnson (Aguecheek), Frances Cuka/Patsy Byrne (Maria), Ian Holm (Sebastian), Dinsdale Landen/Clive Swift (Fabian), Christopher Cruise (Curio), David Sumner (Valentine), Clifford Rose, Clive Swift, Philip Voss (Gentlemen/Sailors)

1966 RST: Clifford Williams
Sally Jacobs (design); John Bradley (lighting); Guy Woolfenden (music)


Diana Rigg (Viola), Estelle Kohler (Olivia), Alan Howard (Orsino), Ian Holm (Malvolio), Brewster Mason (Sir Toby Belch), Norman Rodway (Feste), David Warner (Aguecheek), Patsy Byrne (Maria), Christopher Bidmead (Sebastian), Tim Wylton (Fabian), Phillip Hilton (Curio), John Bell (Valentine), Frances de la Tour (Courtier)

1969 RST/1970 Australian Tour/1970 Aldwych/1971 RST/1972 International Tour: John Barton
Christopher Morley (design); John Bradley (lighting); Michael Tubbs (music adaptation)


Judi Dench (Viola), Lisa Harrow (Olivia), Thomas Charles/Richard Pasco (Orsino), Donald Sinden/Derek Godfrey (Malvolio), Bill Fraser/Leslie Sands/Tony Church (Sir Toby Belch), Emrys James (Feste), Barrie Ingham/Jeffery Dench (Aguecheek), Brenda Bruce/Elizabeth Spriggs (Maria), Gordon Reid (Sebastian), Peter Geddis/Alton Kumalo (Fabian), Morgan Sheppard (Antonio), Roger Rees (Curio), Myles Hoyle/Miles Anderson (Valentine)

1974 RST/1975 Aldwych: Peter Gill
William Dudley (design); Rory Dempster (lighting)


Jane Lapotaire (Viola), Mary Rutherford (Olivia), John Price (Orsino), Nicol Williamson (Malvolio), David Waller (Sir Toby Belch), Ron Pember (Feste), Frank Thornton (Aguecheek), Patricia Hayes (Maria), Robert Lloyd (Sebastian), Brian Hall (Fabian), Louis Sheldon (Curio), Walter McMonagle (Valentine)

1978 Small-scale Tour: John Amiel
John Napier (design); Brian Harris (lighting); Henry Ward (music)


Emily Richard (Viola), Suzanne Bertish (Olivia), Edward Petherbridge (Orsino), Bob Peck (Malvolio), Ian McKellen (Sir Toby Belch), Christopher Hancock (Feste), Roger Rees (Aguecheek), Bridget Turner (Maria), Jeremy Blake (Sebastian), Clyde Pollitt (Fabian), Patrick Godfrey (Antonio), Griffith Jones (Sea Captain/Priest), Alec Wallis (Curio), Clyde Pollitt (Valentine)

1979 RST/1980 Aldwych: Terry Hands
John Napier (design); Terry Hands (lighting); Guy Woolfenden (music)


Cherie Lunghi (Viola), Kate Nicholls (Olivia), Gareth Thomas (Orsino), John Woodvine (Malvolio), Willoughby Goddard (Sir Toby Belch), Geoffrey Hutchings (Feste), John McEnery (Aguecheek), Jane Downs (Maria), Stephen Rashbrook (Sebastian), Norman Tyrrell (Fabian), Roger Bizley (Antonio)

1983 RST/1984 Barbican: John Caird
Robin Don (design); David Hersey (lighting); Ilona Sekacz (music)


Zoë Wanamaker (Viola), Sarah Berger/Joanne Pearce (Olivia), Miles Anderson (Orsino), Emrys James (Malvolio), Stephen Moore (Sir Toby Belch), Richard O'Callaghan (Feste), Daniel Massey (Aguecheek), Gemma Jones (Maria), Nigel Cooke (Sebastian), Stanley Page (Fabian), Graham Sinclair (Antonio), Derek Smee (Curio), Griffith Jones (Valentine)

1987 RST/1988 Barbican: Bill Alexander
Kit Surrey (sets), Deirdre Clancy (costumes); Robert Bryan (lighting); Guy Woolfenden, Alessandro Piccinini, Johann Kapsberger (music)


Harriet Walter (Viola), Deborah Findlay (Olivia), Donald Sumpter (Orsino), Antony Sher/John Carlisle (Malvolio), Roger Allam (Sir Toby Belch), Bruce Alexander (Feste), David Bradley (Aguecheek), Pippa Guard (Maria), Paul Spence (Sebastian), Jim Hooper (Fabian), Paul Webster (Antonio), Jeremy Gilley (Curio), David Pullan (Valentine)

1991 RST: Griff Rhys Jones
Ultz (design); Mick Hughes (lighting); Ilona Sekacz (music)


Sylvestra Le Touzel (Viola), Jane Gurnett (Olivia), Terence Hillyer (Orsino), Freddie Jones (Malvolio), Bill Wallis (Sir Toby Belch), Ken Wynne (Feste), Tim McInnerny (Aguecheek), Linda Marlowe (Maria), Ian Hughes (Sebastian), Albie Woodington (Fabian), Gary Powell (Antonio), Stephen Webber (Curio), Christopher Luscombe (Valentine)

1994 RST/1995 Barbican/1996 Barbican/RST/UK Tour: Ian Judge
John Gunter (sets), Deirdre Clancy (costumes); David Hersey (lighting); Nigel Hess (music)


Emma Fielding/Emily Joyce (Viola), Haydn Gwynne/Abigail Cruttenden (Olivia), Clive Wood/Jack Ellis (Orsino), Desmond Barrit/Edward Petherbridge (Malvolio), Tony Britton/Bernard Lloyd (Sir Toby Belch), Derek Griffiths/Paul Greenwood (Feste), Bille Brown/Guy Henry (Aguecheek), Joanna McCallum/Dilys Laye (Maria), Robert Bowman/Christopher Hollis (Sebastian), Robert Gillespie (Fabian), Steven Elliott/Richard Dillane (Antonio), Gwynn Beech (Curio), Glenn Hugill (Valentine)

1997-98 RST: Adrian Noble
Anthony Ward (design); Chris Parry (lighting); Jason Carr (music)


Helen Schlesinger (Viola), Clare Holman (Olivia), Scott Handy (Orsino), Philip Voss (Malvolio), David Calder (Sir Toby Belch), Stephen Boxer (Feste), John Quayle (Aguecheek), Susan Tracy (Maria), Simon Scardifield (Sebastian), Malcolm Scates (Fabian), Rob Edwards (Antonio), Emma Handy (Lady), Griffith Jones (Priest)

2001 RST/2001-02 Barbican: Lindsay Posner
Ashley Martin-Davis (design); Pat Collins (lighting); Gary Yershon (music)


Zoë Waites (Viola), Matilda Ziegler (Olivia), Jo Stone-Fewings (Orsino), Guy Henry (Malvolio), Barry Stanton (Sir Toby Belch), Mark Hadfield (Feste), Christopher Good (Aguecheek), Alison Fiske (Maria), Ben Meyjes (Sebastian), Wayne Cater (Fabian), Joseph Mydell (Antonio), Victoria Duarri (Maid)

2005 RST/2005 Novello: Michael Boyd
Tom Piper (design); Vince Herbert (lighting); John Woolf, Sianed Jones (music)


Kananu Kirimi (Viola), Aislín McGuckin (Olivia), Barnaby Kay (Orsino), Richard Cordery (Malvolio), Nicky Henson/Clive Wood (Sir Toby Belch), Forbes Masson (Feste), John Mackay (Aguecheek), Meg Fraser (Maria), Gurpreet Singh (Sebastian), Peter Bygott (Fabian), Neil McKinven (Antonio), Alan Morrissey (Curio), Kevin Trainor (Valentine), Christopher Obi (Sea Captain), Eke Chukwu (Attendant), Barrie Palmer (Officer), Christopher Robert (Priest), Sally Tatum (Maid)

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