The Venetian Twins, Lyceum Theatre, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show details
Royal Lyceum Theatre Company
Carlo Goldoni (writer) Tony Cownie (director/adapter) Neil Murray (designer), Chris Davey (lighting designer) Claire Mackenzie (composer / sound designer)
Angela Davey (Columbina), Kern Falconer (Provost/ Flozzie), Keith Fleming (Arlecchino), Jessica Hardwick (Beatrice), Dani Heron (Rosaura), John Kielty (Florindo/Bargello), Steve McNicoll (Pancrazio), Grant O' Rourke (Zanetto/Tonino), James Anthony Pearson (Lelio), John Ramage (Brighella/Tibruzio)
Running time

Confused? They certainly will be…

Zanetto (Grant O’Rourke) has arrived in Verona to claim his bride, Rosaura (Dani Heron). Twin souls in their glaikitness, they appear a perfect match, but fate, in the form of Carlo Goldoni’s pen, takes a hand.

Zanetto’s long-lost twin, Tonino, is hiding out in Venice having contrived to upset the authorities, and the unexpected appearances and disappearances of the two create confusion in the minds of all they encounter and propel the plot.

Tonino’s betrothed, Beatrice, re-imagined in Tony Cownie’s version as a feisty feminist, has followed him, but Florindo (John Kielty), Tonino’s friend, has his own plans, as Pancrazio (Steve McNicoll) does in the case of Rosaura. Add the foppish but duel-crazy Lelio (James Anthony Pearson) to the mix and some ninety minutes of tightly directed mayhem ensue.

Cownie’s adaptation of this well-known plot, deriving from Plautus’ ‘Menaechmi” (and probably not original then), updated by Shakespeare (‘The Two Gentlemen of Verona’) and previously presented in Scots (Victor Carin’s ‘Sairvent o Twa Maisters’) skilfully uses near–contemporary Glasgow Scots to great effect. The wit is always sharp and often bawdy, but what shines through are the characters themselves.

Much of the play rests on the shoulders of Grant O’Rourke, sometimes spinning on a sixpence to turn from being the glaikit Zanetto to a Tonino whose pompous self-regard perhaps reminds us of the last Prime Minister but one, while Keith Fleming’s long-suffering Arlecchino and Angela Darcy as Columbina bring the saying ‘scarting an biting is Scots wooin’ to vivid life.

The language of McNicoll’s scheming Pancrazio and Kern Falconer’s avaricious Provost is equally suited to their stations, and the sensitivities of the text allow the entire cast to bring their own painterly qualities to this fine piece of ensemble acting which spreads some welcome sunshine on an Edinburgh beset by April showers.

Runs til 16th May