Twelfth Night



After his Tony- and Olivier-Award winning performance in Jerusalem, Mark Rylance returned to the Apollo Theatre with Shakespeare’s Globe’s “The Play’s the Thing” season, reprising his performance as Olivia in Twelfth Night and playing the title role in a new production of Richard III.

Twelfth Night is one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies. Following a shipwreck, twins Viola and Sebastian are separated, with each assuming the other is dead. Viola disguises herself as a man in order to serve in the court of Orsino, the Duke of Illyria, who sends her to woo the beautiful Countess Olivia on his behalf. Olivia is in mourning after the loss of her brother and has turned away all suitors, until she becomes instantly enamoured with Viola, now known as Cesario. Meanwhile, Olivia’s drunken uncle, Sir Toby, decides to play a trick on her uptight servant, Malvolio, with hilarious results, in this rollicking tale of mistaken identity and unrequited love.

For this production, Shakespeare’s Globe assembled the same creative team behind their acclaimed 2002 staging of the play, including director Tim Carroll, designer Jenny Tiramani, and composer Claire van Campen. Performed by an all-male cast in “original practice”, the set, costumes, music, and dances were inspired by the original staging of Shakespeare’s plays in the Elizabethan era.

This strictly limited season began on 2 November 2012. Twelfth Night ran in repertory with Richard III and closed on 9 February 2013.

Cast Information

After receiving an Olivier Award nomination for the role in 2002, Mark Rylance again played the Countess Olivia. Stephen Fry, whose considerable film credits include Wilde, The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, Gosford Park, and Sherlock Holmes II plays Malvolio. After appearing opposite Rylance in Jerusalem, Johnny Flynn played Viola, whilst The History Boys’ Samuel Barnett played Sebastian. Members of the original 2002 Globe cast Liam Brennan and Peter Hamilton Dyer reprise their roles as Orsino and Feste. Globe regular Colin Hurley plays Sir Toby Belch.


The Guardian Logo “The transfer of these two productions to the West End is welcome news…the big draw is Stephen Fry’s Malvolio, and he acquits himself extremely well.” Michael Billington, The Guardian


Daily Telegraph Logo

“I can think of no living actor who takes to the stage with such ease and spontaneity as Mark Rylance. He makes the theatre feel like the place that he calls home…” Charles Spencer, The Daily Telegraph


London Evening Standard Logo

“…the play’s peculiarities come across vividly, and Rylance is once again a marvel. Henry Hitchings, The Evening Standard

Stage Seats

Twelfth Night was first staged at Shakespeare’s Globe. To replicate the Elizabethan feel of the Globe at the Apollo, a select number of seats were added to the stage, and from these seats one could expect a unique and up-close experience of the show.

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