Must see: Twelfth Night/Richard III, Apollo Theatre, London W1
Fry concedes the limelight in a perfectly judged pairing
Saturday 24 November 2012
Mark Rylance and Stephen Fry stand at opposite ends of the acting spectrum. The former is a protean genius; the latter performs subtle variations on the Fry persona.
So they make a piquant pairing, as the grieving Olivia and her killjoy steward Malvolio, in Tim Carroll's all-male production of Twelfth Night, which, in tandem with the same company's Richard III, achieves a glorious transfer from Shakespeare's Globe to Shaftesbury Avenue.
Seventeen years after his exit from Cell Mates, Fry's intelligent, generous performance – almost studiedly not a "star turn" – restores balance to a play in which Malvolio can hog the limelight. Rylance's wondrously funny Olivia is a marvel of fluttery panic, bringing her emergence from the stately safety of mourning to absurdly touching life.
The actor's genius is equally mould-breaking in Carroll's Richard III, which has become deeper and more disturbing since it was first seen in the summer.
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