I, Malvolio Review

Submitted by Al Innes on Fri, 26 Aug '11 8.46pm
Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Karl James (director)
Tim Crouch (Malvolio)
Running time

I, Malvolio opened in a secondary school in Brighton in May 2010 and forms the fourth part of Tim Crouch's one man forays into making Shakespeare accessible to young people. It's hard to tell that this is watered-down Shakespeare then, given that the whole thing is riotously funny.

Crouch himself explains that "The stipulations [for the shows] were that it should tell the story of the host play and that the production should fit in a suitcase. I chose the Tempest and approached the play through Caliban's eyes. The next year, I was invited back and looked at A Midsummer Night's Dream from Peaseblossom's point of view. In 2005 it was Banquo's turn with Macbeth."

Now he has taken on Twelfth Night and the results are very impressive. Crouch's performance is absolutely spot on. He slips between the material and improvised comedy without batting an eye-lid, and if I was ten years younger I'm sure I'd have been enthralled with the tale he was weaving even more. As it happens, I along with the largely adult audience, knew the play well and so we could concentrate on this re-working.

I, Malvolio works perfectly as a Fringe production precisely because it appeals to all levels of theatre audiences; it's designed to educate and so it's perfectly accessible, but it's also designed to entertain and will do so for anyone who thinks they've seen quite enough Shakespeare before.

Watching Crouch lambaste us for going to the theatre rather than reading our Bibles is just the sort of thing that is a perfect escape from the madness of Edinburgh in August.

As Malvolio would put it: "I'm not mad. I'm not mad."

Show times: Til 28 August, times vary.

Ticket prices: £17