Twelfth Night

What You Will or Twelfth Night was performed October of 2005 at the historic Montgomery Ward Building downtown Moline, IL.  What You Will or Twelfth Night was directed by Stephanie Burrough.

The Cast

Jeff DeLeon
Orsino, Count of Illyria

Bryan Woods
Curio, a gentleman attending on Count Orsino
Sebastian, twin brother of Viola

Aaron Sullivan
Valentine, a gentleman attending on Count Orsino
Antonio, a sea captain

Karl Bodenbender
An anonymous musician

Linnea Ridolfi
Viola, twin sister to Sebastian

John R. Turner
Sir Toby Belch, uncle to Countess Olivia

Linda Golden
Maria, a gentlewoman attending on Countess Olivia
An officer in the service of Countess Olivia

Anthony Anderson
Sir Andrew Aguecheek, a companion of Sir Toby

Cait Bodenbender
Feste, Olivia’s jester

Denise Yoder
Countess Olivia
An officer in the service of Count Orsino

Tracy Skaggs
Malvolio, Steward to Countess Olivia

Bill Jullivan-Sennin
Fabian, a gentleman attending on Countess Olivia

And Introducing

Andrew J. Koski
An Anonymous Sea Captain

Quad City Times review of Twelfth Night

Make a ‘Night’ of it with Prenzie Players
By Ruby Nancy | Thursday, October 27, 2005

Billed as “What You Will” and subtitled “Twelfth Night” — the opposite of the way it usually is written — the Prenzie Players production of this Shakespeare comedy could easily exist with either title alone.

The wit of the words used is really impressive, of course, but the collective talent and comprehension required to successfully stage this show (which these Players have in spades) make it easy for me to promise that you’ll love it, no matter what it is called.

And this particular “Twelfth Night” is a superb example of why this playwright’s work became so popular in the first place.

Centering on the adventures of twins separated when their ship was lost at sea, this romantic comedy tosses plausibility out the window pretty early on, but it is such a delightful and entertaining story that no one will care.

Linnea Ridolfi shines as Viola, who dresses as a young man when she finds herself virtually alone in a strange land.

A wonderfully evocative “Cesario,” Ridolfi’s mobile face and expressive eyes are perfectly suited to the intimate staging used in this show, and her performance will draw your attention in every scene, no matter who else is on stage at the time.

I particularly enjoyed her work with Jeff DeLeon (who plays Orsino, the count whose court she becomes attached to), and her graceful physical expression during a hilariously choreographed fight sequence is a lot of fun.

DeLeon is also excellent, playing an intense nobleman who finally comes somewhat to terms with the growing feelings he has for “Cesario.”

Caught up in his love for hearing himself make passionate pronouncements aimed at the nearest countess (Denise Yoder as Olivia), Orsino finds himself confused by his interest in the young man he sends to court Olivia in his stead — and DeLeon makes all these layers of the character unfold with ease, coloring his work with a wistful romanticism and yearning that is simply enchanted.

Many other players make the entire production a terrific show. Yoder’s Olivia has plenty of daft charm; Aaron Sullivan’s regal grace suits the role of Antonio, a sea captain, much better than I thought possible; Anthony Anderson is a hoot as a lightweight gentleman; and Tracy Skaggs is delightfully rigid as Malvolio, Olivia’s steward. About a half-dozen more performers play a variety of other roles well, too.

The absolute standout in this cast, however, is Cait Bodenbender. A glorious voice and an absurdly physical insouciance make her perfect for the role of Feste, Olivia’s jester, and Bodenbender throws herself into the role with a fabulous zest that will keep you laughing — and hoping to see her in every single scene.

From the first moments of lovely singing to her final, hilarious exit, this performer owns the stage as few ever get the opportunity to do, and it is impossible not to love her performance here.

Other details enrich the work of the cast, too. Karl Bodenbender’s keyboard work is exceptional, and the eclectic mix of contemporary clothing with a touch of vintage and period pieces is quite fun.

Director Stephanie Burrough and her cast have a first-class show — a comic, gender-bending, romantic romp that is simply too good to miss.

Make sure you get yourself into one of the remaining seats for this weekend’s performances of “What You Will,” because this great show won’t run nearly long enough.