On Malvolio in the museum….More Shakespeare fun 41/100

IMG_20160414_102504_edit_editApril has arrived and with it the start of what is going to be a London love-in of all things Shakespeare. This month marks the 400th anniversary of his death, and it isn’t just The Globe ready to remind us why we love this man so so much. My London Passion has plenty of plans as well, all over the city. As I wrote in my last post, I started with a super special screening of R+J, thanks to Backyard Cinema. Today, something a little funnier, but equally as clever, at the V&A. Malvolio’s Misorder. A delightful spin-off from Twelfth Night, written by Dominic Gerrard. The British galleries, 1500-1760 are now the interior of Olivia’s home. And lucky guests, we have been invited on a tour. Malvolio (Alasdair Craig) is our host, as his lady is indisposed, with lady’s maid Maria (Lotte Allan) as assistant. It all starts off well. Pompous but well meaning Malvolio shows us a bust of Henry VII, admits to being baffled at his a lady’s interest in these English things, but he does a stellar job at presentation never the less. Next, a terrible copy of the famous Holbein portrait Henry VIII on copper….and then, poor Malvolio, drunken Sir Toby (Nick Haverson) begins bellowing from the next room. Dear Maria tries to take over. We see the “deliberately damaged” 15th c panel of the Annunciation, the violence done in the heady, early days of the split from Rome. Then the Bed of Ware. IMG_2102So large it could hold 4 couples at the same time. A faded painting on the headboard suggests what all those bodies could have been up to…coitus interruptus by means of Malvolio. He is horrified Maria is discussing this racy item and hurries us into yet another room, to show off a fireplace and a ceiling. But we don’t really get to admire these blander fixtures as immediately he is overtaken by Toby. And then the fun starts. A back and forth and round again between all 3 characters. A song. More badinage. The famous yellow stockings. No, they didn’t speak Shakespeare’s words, Yes, you needed to know the play to appreciate all the jokes, but it is such a playful and fast romp it didn’t require any in depth knowledge. Why do you tease me so, whinges Malvolio. Because “you delight in others misfortunes.” And this afternoon we also delighted in Malvolio’s misfortune. After being invited to join a lovely rendition of With Hey, Ho, the wind and the rain (a familiar ditty to any as dedicated to the Globe as me), Malvolio staggers off. Howling. In self-pity. A thoroughly entertaining 35 minutes. If only all museum tours could be so engaging. Shakespeare and the V&A. Great combination.

Instagram: @mylondonpassion


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