Shakespeare’s ‘panto’ Twelfth Night at Hoxton Hall

With the festive season upon us, it’s fitting Hoxton Hall is staging a production of the closest thing Shakespeare wrote to a pantomime – Twelfth Night.

The salon:collective are putting on the Bard’s play, which is believed to have been written for the eve of Epiphany on January 5 to mark an end of Christmas merriment.

Traditionally the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, refers to the 12 days of misrule celebrated since medieval times.

“Rules were turned on their head and your old household hierarchy was turned upside down,” explained Lizzie Hughes who is producing the show as well as playing Lady Olivia’s maid. “Lords became servants and basically you had permission to misbehave, it was the annual time to let off steam

“On the 12th night was when everything was put right again and it went back to normal and you started the year afresh,” she continued.


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“The themes of the play fit in with that mood. It’s big crazy fun with a lot of drunkenness and bad behaviour, it’s almost as if Shakespeare wrote a pantomime.”

The play begins with a storm and a shipwreck, which brings twin brother and sister to the crazy kingdom of Ilyria.

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Nothing is working there as it should, people have fallen in love with the wrong people, women are disguised as men, servants are too powerful, and Lords are handing over their power to them – but during the course of the play the brother and sister are accidentally instrumental in making sure things are put right.

The cast are staging two versions, with family friendly matinees and evening shows with a more bawdy side.

“It’s an excellent show for families we had children as young as three absolutely held by it, but at the same time it’s not too dull for adults,” added Mrs Hughes an ex-English teacher and Bard’s enthusiast.

“There are quite a lot of rude jokes you can either understand or not understand depending on how we play them.

“It’s a good way into Shakespeare as there are big characters, high energy and the story itself is quite compact and tied up neatly.

“We have a beautiful venue in Hoxton hall which is a dream little perfect theatre, we have a fabulous cast performing in a most accessible way, it won’t be Shakespeare that people can’t enjoy,” she promised.

The show runs in Hoxton Hall, 130 Hoxton Street, on December 17, 18, 20, 21 and 22, with family friendly matinees at 2pm and an adult evening show at 8pm. Tickets are priced at �12.50 or �10 concessions, �5 for children, or �27.50 for a family matinee for two adults and two children. The last night show and party cost �15.

To book call 020 7684 0060 or see www.hoxtonhall.co.uk

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