Synopsis by Michael Betzold
The classic Shakespearean comedy about mistaken identity and gender confusion is brought to the screen once again in this British production, courtesy of screenwriter-director Trevor Nunn. Nunn has transferred the time period to the Victorian Era of the late 19th century. Two twins, Viola (Imogen Stubbs) and Sebastian (Steven MacKintosh), are separated when their ship capsizes. Each believes that the other has drowned. Viola washes ashore on the coast of Illyria. She disguises herself as a man and assumes the name Cesario so that she can take a position as an aide to the Duke, Orsinio (Toby Stephens). Orsinio desires Olivia (Helena Bonham Carter), who refuses his attentions. He also flirts with Maria (Imelda Staunton), Olivia's maid. Orsinio sends Cesario as an emissary to Olivia. The foppish Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Richard E. Grant) also seeks Olivia's love. He is a friend of her besotted uncle, Sir Toby Belch (Mel Smith). With the clownish philosopher Feste (Ben Kingsley), all these members of Olivia's household plot to embarrass the dour Malvolio (Nigel Hawthorne), a butler who has no tolerance for frivolity. They fool Malvolio into thinking that Olivia desires him, and when he confesses his love, Olivia orders him imprisoned as a madman. Sebastian then turns up and is mistaken for Cesario. A series of mishaps follows.
drag [cross-dressing], impersonation, shipwreck, twins, bachelor, bachelorette, survivor
High Production Values