Twelfth Night is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays so I'm quite fussy about how it's presented. I'm rather disappointed by this version, not because it's bad but because it lacks the charm and insight of the Trevor Nunn movie which is completely wonderful. It's also not as well acted - quite a few of the characters I felt were miscast. However, there are good things too. Robert Hardy, Robert Lindsey both stand out. Olivia, Sebastian, Maria and Antonio are cast well. Sir Andrew, the Duke and Malvolio are all a bit disappointing. The Duke could have done with more style and conviction and the actor projecting that this is the leader of a country who's been in battle with Messaline. It needed a more dynamic actor. Malvolio was quite boring although the cross-gartering was amazing.
Viola. What can one say? This is a very good actress of course, but she doesn't look the part and she doesn't sound remotely boyish either. We know Cesario is supposed to look feminine as the Duke tells us so. But this Cesario is overloaded to ludicrous proportions with a mass of ostentatious, glamorous tresses falling all over her shoulders and for some area around, as though she were Rita Hayworth. It's daft, unless one's supposed to imagine the Duke spends his time (when not mooning) curling and stroking all this hair to keep it so incredibly curly and glossy? I cringed. Sebastian's hair is far more restrained and he looks good. It may be this is the actress's own hair and on her briefly as Viola it looks lovely, but on Cesario, oh dear no. She needed to cut it back quite a bit. How Olivia or anyone could think this is a boy beats me.
However, all the Beeb complete Shakespeare productions are good so this is always worth seeing even if the acting by some of the actors leaves something to be desired. It's never bad, just a little limp.