New York | 2h 30m | Already closed

Twelfth Night (Classic Stage Company)

From 22 critic and 86 member reviews
Members say: Entertaining, Delightful, Clever, Great acting, Funny

About the show

Fiasco Theater brings their hallmark style and expansive imagination to one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies in Classic Stage Company's production.


Shipwrecked on the island of Illyria, Viola and her twin brother Sebastian are separated, each fearing the other lost to the sea. Viola disguises herself as a boy and wades into a complex romantic triangle with Duke Orsino and the Countess Olivia.

2h 30m | Already closed | Classic Stage Company (East Village)

Stage Buddy

“A perfect staging of a perfect play...Rarely have I seen a play this perfect. Shakespeare's dialogue is given full reign, conveyed with clarity and warmth. As a result, the audience seems to catch every joke, laughing almost non-stop throughout the action...Another strong win is the ensemble feel of the play and the adeptness of every single cast member...You're unlikely to see a more purely delightful production of Shakespeare's perfect play.” Full Review


“”Twelfth Night’ is the kind of piece that bubbles with youthful energy as its characters awkwardly explore their romantic passions. That youthful energy is delightfully brimming in Fiasco’s production...There's a casual connection between actors and audience, as they tell the story of shipwrecked twins...The rousing musical moments shared by the company enhance the merry spirit of the fun and fast-moving production.” Full Review


"The result here is understated, satisfying but without offering a striking new take on a classic work. This carries the risk of the production failing to distinguish itself. But what stands out most strongly here is the collaborative spirit amongst the performers...A skillful and joyous take on an old favorite...The cheery band of performers gives off a most festive energy, and it's easy to feel among friends as you're along for the ride. " Full Review

The Huffington Post

"Joy, fun, and exuberant flair...The Fiasco 'Twelfth Night' offers full value...Steinfeld shines on stage in the ordinarily not-so-prominent role of the clown Feste...It’s a joyous Shakespearean romp...This is a bright and flavorful 'Twelfth Night' that does well by the playwright, and an empty space production in which the play’s the thing without reliance on sets, costumes, wigs and opulent trappings." Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

"A charming, unfussy take...Honest, open, and noble...There’s no heavy stylistic signature on the work — instead, Fiasco’s priorities seem to spring from the mindset of actors who deeply love Shakespeare and long to communicate this material’s great gifts and joys...This is excellent gateway-drug Shakespeare, and I mean that as sincere praise...Plays things a bit on the safe side tonally, but all in all, it’s 'a most happy wreck.'" Full Review

Front Row Center

“In this stripped down production, Brody and Steinfeld direct much of the focus on the space between the actors all of whom are excellent. The group has that repertory feel...The two actors who are not regular Fiasco performers...Their energy is more direct, which contrast serves the production well...I wish that a sense of context and clarity were more consistently sustained...At times the humor feels a bit forced...It’s a wild ride worth the taking.” Full Review


“You’ll know before a minute passes that Fiasco's production is going to be an imaginative one...Grotelueschen plays Sir Toby Belch nice and subtly...There are some other time-honored devices that haven’t been seen in a while and will be welcome sights for theatrically experienced eyes...Steinfeld helps by being a fine Feste...But Fiasco can’t overcome the problem that has plagued every production...Sebastian and Viola never resemble each other." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

“The Fiasco Theater's rollicking, new production of ‘Twelfth Night' is the perfect way to spend a cold, winter night...Co-directed with economic flair by Fiasco stalwarts Brody and Steinfeld and boasts a resourceful cast who are having even more fun than the audience, if that's possible...Fiasco's revival is a rousing success on its own terms...Celebrate the season with Fiasco's simple, yet effective, reimagining of Shakespeare's masterpiece of identity, illusion, and illumination.” Full Review

The Theatre Times

“Fiasco Theater begins its experimental take by adding a musical number to dramatize Viola and Sebastian’s shipwreck...An artistic risk that could flop badly. In this case, the shipwreck scene adds insight...Each of the actors in supporting roles adds comic expertise...While the main characters are lucky in love and pair up successfully, the ensemble’s commitment to remember the shipwreck throughout the production feels like a warm embrace to the audience.” Full Review


“While not as memorable as several previous Fiasco Theater productions, this ‘Twelfth Night’ takes a while to get where it is going. After winding up the plot in the first half, it settles down to sparkling comedy in its second. A bare-bones production, it focuses attention on the language and the music rather than the usual rich trappings. It is an easy production to follow without being distracted by extraneous interpretations or ideas.” Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

"The language of Shakespeare seems to cause a bit of a stumble with these actors...Musically it is lively and sweet...It is enjoyable and fun, landing firmly in the aesthetic of the festive ritual it honors. Could it have been better? Possibly so, but as it is with all parties, a few more songs, more riveting conversations, and a few more laughs are always needed to make a good party even better." Full Review

Epoch Times

“The production is light and lively, with many fine performances and offers many pluses; however, it lacks one particular element which prevents it from being the superlative production it might have been...What’s missing, then? Heart and soul...More emphasis on the poetry might have lent greater variety to the play, as well as a sense of greater depth...One gets a strong sense of the repertory quality of the performance, which is a pleasure to see.” Full Review

The New York Times

"As usual, the performers let the story tell itself, without excessive interpretive psychology...The show is steeped in a daylight lucidity, making it an ideal introduction to 'Twelfth Night' for theatergoers unacquainted with this play...But the electricity I associate with Fiasco is oddly lacking, as is the sense of unexpected revelation. The show as a whole feels like a clean-lined sketch for a fuller work to come...'Twelfth Night' cries out for more layered and intricate portraiture." Full Review

DC Theatre Scene

“They are delivering their customary clarity, but without that extra spark that characterized their ‘Cymbeline’ or ‘Into The Woods’...The main plot feels nearly pushed to the side by one of the play’s two subplots...All three strands, which intertwine at the end, are presented competently and clearly. The musical interludes are highlights. But gone are the playful props and clever staging that have been a signature of Fiasco productions.” Full Review

Time Out New York

"Their 'Twelfth Night' lacks their usual derring-do...The production’s coziness—sweaters, beards, sea chanties—smothers any sense of risk...Toby Belch (Andy Grotelueschen) and Andrew Aguecheek (Paco Tolson) have their dunce caps strapped on tight, and their scenes together—so silly, so ass-over-teakettle ridiculous—have the old Fiasco zing...But the company has landed itself in too-pleasant country. Better to set sail for rougher shores." Full Review


"Visually appealing and brimming with musicality, this 'Twelfth Night' never capsizes, but it does leave us feeling as though we've taken a good voyage of nothing...The production never reaches an adequate clip for Shakespearean comedy. The exposition can be downright plodding at times., while conservative performances mostly fail to make an impression...We know this comedy can glide, which is why it is so disappointing that Fiasco's production merely treads water." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

"The action moves at a quick pace but is at times burdened by the musical interludes which breaks the pace of the farce. If you have not seen the previous production by the Classic Stage Company, indeed include this incarnation of 'Twelfth Night' in your theater schedule. But if you have, there is no need to venture out for the 2-hour and 45-minute rather lackluster production." Full Review

Theater Life

“The unimaginative direction never raises above the level of a competent college production. The concept seems to have been to plunk the dizzy lovers of the Bard’s Illyria down in a New England fishing village so the cast could warble atmospheric sea shanties in between scenes. There is not much spark between the various victims of Cupid’s arrows, and those with comic roles push their zany schtick too hard to elicit any honest laughter. Too bad this is just a so-so ‘Twelfth Night.’" Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“The actors barely seem to connect with their characters...May be the least amusing 'Twelfth Night' I've ever seen. Never a bore and never vulgar or pandering, it has moments when the text blessedly asserts itself...There's also something likable about the overall no-frills approach...But why strip down a production if you aren't going to highlight Shakespeare's words and characters?...I don't think I've ever seen one so thoroughly lacking in point of view and reason for being." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"Fiasco Theater puts coal in our stocking with a weak tea production of 'Twelfth Night'...There isn’t much that’s positive to say about Fiasco’s show itself...Much of the cast feels uncomfortable with the language...Even in an uninteresting production of 'Twelfth Night' that squanders one of Shakespeare’s great female parts and adds nothing new to the story, a pleasure can be found. And that’s in the charming, commanding, utterly winning performance of Steinfeld as the Fool Feste." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"Were this production played for laughs, there would have been several standout performances...But continually letting Shakespeare’s cleverest jokes die on the vine took the life out of their performances. Fiasco would be better served, and would better serve Shakespeare, by going back to breathing life into an otherwise neglected and dismissed play...Their take on 'Twelfth Night,' unfortunately, serves little purpose and disappoints an expectant audience." Full Review

Broadway Blog

Fiasco Theater’s production reduces the play to an egocentric, uninspired staging that left me wondering if anyone outside of the indulgent company of actors watched a run-through before subjecting the audience...The disconnect between process and presentation is painfully evident. What is deeply lacking in nearly every moment of this production is any authentic human connection among its players. Stomping, posturing, shouting, and buffoonish gestures abound.” Full Review

Delightful, Enchanting, Funny, Great acting, Must see

See it if you appreciate people who can honor a Shakespearean text while simultaneously making it sound fresh and fun for today.

Don't see it if you need spectacle or dislike Shakespeare.

Delightful, Intelligent, Great singing

See it if you like your Shakespeare without high concept just clear, clean storytelling by an ensemble that plays beautifully off one another.

Don't see it if you can’t be still for a longish first act.

Delightful, Entertaining, Great acting, Great staging, Hilarious

See it if you love fresh interpretations of Shakespeare.

Don't see it if if you do not like wonderful language.

Also This was one of the best Twelfth Night productions I ever saw. Fiasco ... Read more Read less

Hilarious, Enchanting, Entertaining, Delightful, Great acting

See it if You like Shakespeare. You like comedy.

Don't see it if You don't like Shakespeare

Also I laughed the whole time and so did everyone else.

Delightful, Enchanting, Great acting, Great singing, Hilarious

See it if you are looking for a fun, intelligent version of this play. The acting is great, the music works well. It was a really enjoyable show.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy Shakespeare. Honestly, that is the only reason. Even then, give it a try--this show is an absolute delight.

Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Great staging

See it if You like great ensemble play, shakespeare, music, and good acting

Don't see it if You don’t like shakespeare or thrust theatre

Clever, Entertaining, Refreshing, Hilarious, Great acting

See it if You like engaging productions performed by extremely talented actors who enjoy their roles. Most accessible production of this play I’veseen

Don't see it if You do not enjoy shakespeare

Great acting, Hilarious, Refreshing, Entertaining, Quirky

See it if you enjoy watching Shakespearean works staged in non-traditional ways, or you're a fan of Fiasco Theater.

Don't see it if you're not familiar with this play and have difficulty with Shakespeare's language. You may find this hard to follow.

Also I've found that the hallmark of a Fiasco production is that the perfor... Read more Read less

Great staging, Hilarious, Refreshing, Clever

See it if you like a reimagining of Shakespeare's lightest tale and a fun physical comic take on it

Don't see it if you prefer a trimmed down Shakespeare and a typical staging of it.

Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Refreshing

See it if You love seeing Shakespeare performed by a creative company that brings wonderful acting and an enjoyable spin on a traditional performance.

Don't see it if You only want to see Shakespeare performed in a strictly traditional setting.

Hilarious, Great staging, Refreshing

See it if You like Shakespeare plays and want to see a really fun well done production

Don't see it if You don’t like Shakespeare

Delightful, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Masterful

See it if you want to see a fabulous ensemble of gifted actors bring contemporary verve to Shakespeare while still delivering the text with skill!

Don't see it if you don't like Shakespeare or you only enjoy Shakespeare when done in traditional period fashion.

Also I cannot say enough about the skills and infectious enthusiasm of this... Read more Read less

Clever, Masterful, Entertaining, Refreshing, Funny

See it if Love new twist on classic Shakespeare. Fun innovative interpretation of a classic.

Don't see it if Don't love Shakespeare.

Delightful, Funny, Great singing, Entertaining

See it if You’d like to see a musically and comedically strong version of shakespeare’s best comedy: one that would work well as an intro for kids.

Don't see it if You’re hoping for a version with a new take on the play’s gender dynamics.

Inspired clown sequences, Made malvolio in jail work, Sea shanties worthy addition, Well spoken, Ben steinfeld = brilliance

See it if enjoyable, well spoken, inventive take on Shakespeare with direct address, audience inclusion & clowning are what you expect from Fiasco

Don't see it if you can't listen & laugh for 2 3/4 hours, u need more than 10 actors 2 entertain u, you need spectacle & "traditional" Shakespearean interp

Delightful, Enchanting, Innovative,

See it if U want your melancholy transformed into smiles, joy, through Shakespeare’s words, music, dance and the genius of Fiasco Theaters invention

Don't see it if if you hate Shakespeare through new eyes & an absolutely wonderful ensemble cast performing their hearts out...pure joy

Delightful, Enthusiastic, Accessible

See it if Great intro to Shakespeare's comedy- for the novice and the Bardophile. Funny, great incidental music, Fine cast..Presented with elan.

Don't see it if Fine comedy even if you don't like Shakespeare. No scenery just props, small theater in the round. Fourth wall keeps disappearing.

Also Love this company, I've seen four of their productions without coming ... Read more Read less

Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Great staging, Refreshing

See it if You are a fan of the Fiasco company and their style of performance, this is a fine example.

Don't see it if You hate Shakespeare or expect large scale epics

Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Great staging, Delightful

See it if You like Shakespeare reimagined from a different vantage point. Enjoy an energetic production with lots of music.

Don't see it if You prefer proscenium productions.

Clever, Entertaining, Delightful, Funny, Quirky

See it if you want one of Shakespeare's comedies performed in a non-traditional manner by a high-energy troupe

Don't see it if you want elaborate period costumes and setting, want Mark Rylance as Viola; don't want uneven acting

Also Missed the period costumes in the beginning and the first act was a li... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining

See it if you want a fun night at the theater

Don't see it if you don't like Shakespeare

Humorous, Enjoyable

See it if you enjoy a light and cheerful play. The location was intimate, the cast is talented (some of the cast are also the musicians for the show)

Don't see it if you don't enjoy Shakespeare. **This review was provided by a friend.

Absorbing, Funny, Great staging, Edgy, Great acting

See it if you like the Fiasco company.

Don't see it if you're a Shakespeare purist; you loved the Twelfth Night with Mark Rylance a few years ago.

Absorbing, Enchanting, Quirky

See it if You want a breezy, enjoyable take on the classic

Don't see it if You're expecting something innovative or super-serious

Delightful, Well acted, Joyful, Funny, A bit too long

See it if you like Shakespeare. This is a delightful telling of this play. Quirky and modern, yet true to the original. Great acting and music.

Don't see it if you just don't like the Bard. However, if you are on the fence you might give this one a try. It's very accessible.

Also I'm not sure why the professional reviews for this weren't better. I t... Read more Read less

Cast & Creatives (18)