REVIEW: The Beacon reflects on “Twelfth Night”

By The Beacon | April 25, 2023 3:00pm

The Ensemble of "Twelfth Night." The play opened on April 19. Photo courtesy of UP Theater.

The lights in Mago Hunt dim and the sound of boots hitting the stage ushers us into the world of Shakespeare. Though the scenery is bright and floral, the opening scene is dreary and sad. For the next two hours and 10 minutes, the cast of “Twelfth Night” provides some laughs, tears and comedic relief. 

A work of Shakespeare, UP theater’s production of “Twelfth Night” was directed by Lezlie Cross with new music composed by Matthew Capurro. The play is a romantic comedy that takes place in the land of Illyria. The audience gets to know some eccentric characters — like Toby, played by Bennett Buchholz and Andrew, played by Ricardo Guevara. We also get to see the beginnings of romance form and laugh at the miscommunications that ensue — classic Shakespeare.

Rachel Ramos as Olivia. Photo courtesy of UP Theater.

Below are some reflections on the play from Beacon reporters:

“Twelfth night is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays. Maybe it’s my love for the 2000’s movie adaptation ‘She’s the Man’ or the chaotic energy and whirlwind the plot takes you on, but I felt that the cast did an exceptional job at recreating the iconic dramedy while staying true to Shakespeare’s writing. While the actors who played Olivia and Orsino were great at showing their charm as the ‘heartthrobs’ within the play, their performance felt a bit flat compared to the real standouts, Ricardo Guevara and Bennett Buchholz. They played Sir Andrew and Sir Toby respectively and stole the show with their ‘drunken’ quips and comedic timing. I caught myself waiting for them to come back on stage eager to see how they were going to deliver their lines next.”

- Brie Haro, Editor-in-Chief

“Twelfth Night” is a fresh, human take on the classic play. I’ve seen “Twelfth Night” performed once before, but this was my first time watching the play after reading it. The actors in this production of “Twelfth Night” brought to life the inherent comedy of Shakespeare’s text, something that can be easily lost when simply going over the play on paper. The energy from the cast was contagious as the audience spent the play laughing, getting emotional, and being fully engrossed in the plot of the production. Still performed in the Early Modern English that the bard wrote the play in, the language of the play could have presented a boundary between performer and audience yet the actors’ individual performances communicated so well the text that language halted to be a barrier. I recommend “Twelfth Night” to Shakespeare fans and non-Shakespeare fans alike as a great way to experience the play that will leave you smiling once the curtain falls. 

Aria Hroma as Fabian and Bennett Buchholz as Sir Toby. Photo courtesy of UP Theater.

- Kate Cuadrado, News & Managing Editor

“When I’m reading Shakespeare, I often forget that the text in front of me is meant to be performed. With “Twelfth Night” being the first Shakespeare play I’ve seen, I’ve garnered a new appreciation for his craft. I was able to fully capture the dynamic between each of the characters, something that reading the text alone can lack. The cast was perfect as they transported me back in time. I felt like I was in The Globe itself. I couldn’t contain my laughter for most of the play — especially when the iconic duo of Sir Toby and Sir Andrew gifted us with their presence on stage. The singing, music and wardrobe were amazing and I was left in awe by the set design. Everything was perfectly executed.”

- Janea Melido, Copy Editor

The acting was incredible, at times it felt like I was watching professionals on Broadway. The emotions were palpable by some of the cast and the comic relief served its purpose. However, I went into the play with the understanding that they were attempting to make it explicitly queer. By the end of the show, I felt dissatisfied because this theme was not as explicit as I thought it was going to be. As a queer person, I feel like there could have been many ways to make this more clear. 

Branna Sundy as Viola and Joe Koppy as the Captain. Photo courtesy of UP Theater.

- Kimberly Cortez, Community Engagement Editor

Before seeing UP’s production of “Twelfth Night,” I previously knew nothing about the play. Throughout the two-hour production, I was both laughing and in tears. The cast of the play was excellently emotive, making the acting all the more captivating – and easier to understand through all the Shakespearean vernacular. All the characters and their respective actors were very strong. Jacqulynne Sample, playing Feste, truly shined in her vocals. Ricardo Guevara, playing Andrew, provided an especially good amount of comedic relief and provided a very – sometimes too much – relatable character, notably with the line “I was adored once too.” Bennett Buchholz, playing Toby, also gave an outstanding performance. For the two hours he was on that stage, he was not Buchholz but was truly Toby. 

- Lulu Heffernan, Living Section Editor

This was my first Shakespeare performance in person and it did not disappoint. A few of The Beacon staffers are taking a Shakespeare class and we just finished reading “Twelfth Night.” Because of this and my love of the movie “She’s the Man,” I thought I had an idea about what I should expect from the play, however, I was pleasantly surprised. The casting was impeccable, and they did well playing up the comedic parts of the play while also maintaining the poignant moments as well. I found myself belly laughing with the rest of the audience and then tearing up as the play wrapped up. Overall, Dr. Cross and the company of “Twelfth Night” put on a fun, fresh take of a timeless classic. 

Zora Richardson as Simon, the musician. Photo courtesy of UP Theater.

- Wilder Isom, Sports Editor

As the audience lights dimmed, the last thing I expected was for the stage lights to illuminate the bowed heads of somber funeral mourners — least of all a singing clown. Cross’s direction of “Twelfth Night” turned so much of my understanding of the play on its head. This was my first time seeing a live Shakespeare performance and I loved it. I thought the performers did a wonderful job acting out Cross’s fascinating rendition of the play. Alone with the text in your hands, it can be all too easy to lose yourself in Shakespeare’s dense language. But seeing the story come to life onstage is truly something else. To any theater veterans out there saying “welcome to the club,” I’m happy to be here.  

- Riley Martinez, photographer

This review was written by The Beacon staff. We can be reached at