Noted man of letters Samuel Pepys wrote that Shakespeare's Twelfth Night was a silly play — and so he only saw it three times. Clearly, silly's not a pejorative here. Orsino, the duke of Illyria, is pining hard for Olivia, a countess in mourning due to the death of her father and brother. Olivia's not looking for love, but she can't help but swoon over the lithe and lovely young Cesario, a sensitive lad full of mirth and life. Cesario's also full of ovaries, since "he" is really Viola, a young lady in disguise. Viola's main interest is finding her missing twin brother, Sebastian, but she's also working on some pining of her own, namely for her new boss, the aforementioned Orsino. As you can imagine, all this cross-dressing and longing and look-alike characters leads to confusion and trouble — and we haven't even come to the marvelously named Sir Toby Belch yet. Yes, Twelfth Night is gloriously silly at times, and the world is all the better for it. Insight Theatre Company stages Twelfth Night with a Renaissance flair, using live musicians onstage to add punch and color to this already colorful show. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday (January 29 through February 8) at Hegney Theatre at Nerinx (530 East Lockwood Avenue, Webster Groves; www.insighttheatrecompany.com or 314-968-1505, extension 131). Tickets are $10 to $20.
Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: Jan. 29. Continues through Feb. 8, 2009