Textbook 'Twelfth Night' entertains
By MELISSA ROSE BERNARDO
There is nothing more refreshing on a hot sum-
merday than agood Shakespearean comedy. Herein
lies the value of the Stratford Festival's production
of "Twelfth Night."
As far as "Twelfth Night"s go, this one presents
n e w ,
nice. And we cannotcondemn this production forits
basic entertainment level.
Festival Artistic Director Richard Monette has
given us a textbook production of "Twelfth Night,"
though seemingly he would like us to believe other-
wise. The design is lovely, the story enchanting as
always and the comic turn of events thoroughly
satisfying. But textbook it still is.
"Twelfth Night" begins when Viola (Lucy Pea-
cock) and her brother Sebastian (Tim MacDonald)
are shipwrecked off the coast of Illyria. They are
separated, so neither knows the other has survived.
Viola disguises herself as a young man and enters
the service of the Duke Orsino (Scott Wentworth).
Viola/Cesario soon falls in love with Orsino, but
Orsino is enamored of the Countess Olivia (Alison
Sealy-Smith). Olivia's brother recently died, and as
a mourning gesture has sworn off men for seven
When Viola/Cesario visits Olivia on Orsino's
behalf Olivia is attracted to the boy, and here begins
a fun love triangle. Viola/Cesario loves Orsino,
Orsino loves Olivia and Olivia loves Viola/Cesario.
Of course, this is only the beginning of mistaken
identities, tricks and practical jokes which give
"Twelfth Night" its comic charm.
Monette, with the aid of designer Debra Hanson,
has attempted to show the contrast between Orsino's
and Olivia's kingdoms. Orsino's is a sort of primi-
tive one, with divans and curtains strewn about and
shirtless young men attending him. Because Olivia
and her maid Maria are both played by African-
Americans, theirclothing and decorations are clearly
African-inspired. Monette's is an admirable effort,
buthe doesn't take it as far as he might have. Perhaps
Orsino loves Olivia because she is so different,
because she possesses 'that exotic mystique; the
contrast between their kingdoms is not pronounced
Hanson's set is fine, and she deserves special
kudos for the mammoth hibiscus flowers which
open on stage. (And you thought that falling chan-
delier trick was something special.) The live orches-
traplaying "Brazilian" music is a nice tough as well.
Any bland qualities of this production are over-
shadowed by fine performances (with the exception
of Brian Bedford's as Feste). Lucy Peacock is
enchanting as Viola/Cesario; her deep, rich voice
makes her a convincing boy and her inherently
feminine airs make her an attractive Viola. And she
has a separate gown just for the curtain call!
Scott Wentworth, Lewis Gordon and Yanna
McIntosh all deserve special mention. And stealing
any scene he is in is Stephen Ouimette as Sir
Andrew Aguecheek. Ouimette hams it up so much
you wonder how he can keep from laughing at
himself. In a perfectly hilarious moment, Ouimette
stomps on stage wearing a Napoleon hat, carrying a
little bundle of a dog in a matching hat. Even the
dog is a hoot!
Overall this is a very nice production. One could
argue that it should be more than nice - that
directors should be bold and daring with
But sometimes you just want a light, refreshing
comedy. And that is exactly when you will want to
see "Twelfth Night."
TWE LItF HNIG HT plays through November 13
at the Festival Theatre in Stratford, Ontario. For
tickets, accomodations or information about this
or any other Festival production, call the
Stratford Festival Box Ofice at (519) 273-1600.
With his uproarious performance, Stephen Quimette lit up 'Twelfth Night'
.. .. _, _r. .. __...... ..
Timecop'can't be saved by Van Damme's splits
w By ALEXANDRA TWIN
With its coherent action sequences,
occasional humanistic exchanges, re-
strained amounts of random splits and
lunges and the gnawing realization that
someone probably sat down with the
intention of creating a plot, there is
Directed by Peter Hyams
certainly a case to be made that this is
the best Jean-Claude Van Damme film
With its ludicrously assembled nar-
rative, laughable attempts at acting,
frequent, unnecessary gym moves and
the gnawing realization that someone
probably sat down with the intention of
creating a plot, there is also a case to be
made that while this is probably Jean-
Claude's best, does it really matter?
The answer is a resounding "no."
More handsome than Schwarzenegger,
more buff than Stallone, more engag-
ing than Seagal and arguably stupider
than all ofthem combined, Jean-Claude
Van Damme may have all the right
ingredients of the next big action-star,
but has he had an acting lesson, ever?
This is not to say that any of the
others have, but when Van Damme, as
the troubled Timecop, Max Walker,
gets a call from his boss saying that
he's needed for a dangerous mission,
there's just no way that there's any one
on the other line. He's talking into
space and even it's not listening.
Walker's your average, studly, Bel-
gian, kick-boxing police officer. But
the year is 2004 and of course, time
travel is possible. So is evil and there's
an evil politician on the loose.
A mad, raging and prematurely
balding Senator Aaron McComb (Ron
Silver) wants to go back and fix crap
games and stuff so that he can make a
lot of money and be the president. The
Time Enforcement Patrol thinks that
plans like these are bad, so they hire a
bunch of cops to protect time, to be ...
timecops. Thus, the challenging title.
Walker is more than glad to join
the program, considering that his wife
Melissa (Mia Sara), is dead and he's
kinda hoping to either go back and
save her or at least meet some cute
Damme may have all
the right Ingredients of
the next big action-star,
but has he had an
acting lesson, ever?
pre-historic chicks in the process. Six
years and one bad haircut later and
McComb and his band of lackeys are
still running around, cheating old la-
dies out of fair Bingo wins and doing
other despicable things.
Time is running out. Who will win?
Who will lose? Who will be cast in
Certainly not Mia Sara, as the latest
simpering, yowling, slip-clad woo-man
of Jean-Claude. Gotta give the guy
credit though. He does have apenchant
for casting one-hit wonders like Sara
("Ferris Bueller's Day Off") and
Rosanna Arquette (1993's "Nowhere
to Run") and giving them a chance to
really show their stuff. The graphic,
unnecessary sex scene appears a full
eight minutes into the film, for those of
you who are impatient.
While the "Mussels from Brussels"
may have quite a lot to look at, he's
awfully hard to listen to. This has less
to do with the understandable accent
barrier and more to do with the fact that
his line delivery is so atonal that it
makes Keanu Reeves sound expres-
The film does attempt to foster the
interesting moral debate of what would
you do if you could go back in time and
change your fate.
This reviewer would have buried
TIMECOP is playing at Briarwood
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Liz Phair unleashes a supernova
By HEATHER PHARES
What do you do if, in the past year
and a half, you've gone from making
tapes in your bedroom to having one of
the best albums of 1993 to being on the
On songs like "Support System"
and "X-Ray Man" Phair's characters
loudly and proudly declare their inde-
pendence from the men in their lives;
internal feelings and states of being get
the rock treatmenton "Shane"and "Jeal-
ousy." Then there's a bunch of just
great pop songs like "Go West," "Dogs
ofL.A."and "May Queen."Ifpossible,
Phairhas managed to cram more hooks,
melodies, and riffs into "Whip Smart"
than she did on "Exile In Guyville," to
a marvelously catchy and addictive
effect. "Whip Smart" is just another
one of the best albums by one of the
best artists in recent recording history.
Let's just hope Liz Phair doesn't get
bored with being so darn whip-smart.
cover of the latest Rolling Stone maga-
zine? If you're Liz Phair, you keep the
ll-crafted, insightful and catchy rock
Coming. "Whip Smart," her second
album, will keep the critics in the ec-
static state her last album "Exile in
Guyville," put them in.
t It's not really fairtocompare"Whip
Smart" to "Exile" other than to say that
"Whip Smart" is not a radically differ-
ent album or a dramatic step forward
(or backward). Phair's favorite topics
(men, relationships, emotions) are just
amply present on "Whip Smart" as
fey are on her debut. The only notice-
able change between the two albums is
the slicker but still warm and open
production on "Whip Smart," which is
co-produced. by Phair and drummer
But to say that this is just another
Liz Phair album is disingenuous; as if
"just another" collection of great (and
0 art) pop songs, by a fiercely intelli-
nt and creative woman is a common
commodity. "Chopsticks," the open-
ing track on the album, is a piano and
feedback-driven ode to the angst sur-
rounding one-night stands; "Super
Nova," the single, celebrates the love
her lifea in an nualmav: "You
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