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Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night

Written by William Shakespeare
Performed in Russian

Shakespeare is obsessed with human love. Twelfth Night is a play about love and identity, about difficulties of love, about how our identity dissolves in love, about love verging on madness and fear and spiritual revelations. The love Shakespeare shares with us in the play is as cruel as hope itself. It makes us think of the delusions of passion, of the eternal “magical mirror” of appearances and reality. The striking detail is that Viola in Twelfth Night has a line identical to one of Iago’s – “I am not what I am”.

Very often Shakespeare writes about ordinary people in extraordinary situations. We come to the theatre to see Shakespeare’s characters fall in love, suffer from love, grant and reject love. We come to see the kind of love we fear, the love we all dream about, the love we need, the love we avoid, the love that is perhaps our only reality.
Declan Donnellan, Cheek by Jowl Artistic Director on Twelfth Night

Produced by Cheek by Jowl in cooperation with the Chekhov International Theatre Festival. The first performance of Twelfth Night was at the Chekhov International Theatre Festival on 18th May 2003.

“As close to undiluted pleasure as this ambiguous old world allows”

New York Times
Cast and creative team


Vladimir VdovichenkovOrsino, Duke of Ilyria
Evgeny TsyganovSebastian, brother to Viola
Mikhail ZhigalovAntonio, A sea-captain, friend to Sebastian
Vsevolod BoldinAnother sea-captain, friend to Viola
Sergey MuhkinValentine, A Gentleman
Mikhail DementievCurio, attending on the Duke
Alexander FeklistovSir Toby Belch
Dmitry DyuzhevSir Andrew Aguecheek
Dmitry ScherbinaMalvolio, Steward to Olivia
Igor YasulovichFeste, Fool to Olivia
Alexei DadanovOlivia, A rich Countess
Andrei KuzitchevViola
Ilia IlinMaria, Olivia’s Gentlewoman

Creative Team

DirectorDeclan Donnellan
DesignerNick Ormerod
Lighting DesignerJudith Greenwood
Assistant DirectorEvgeny Pisarev
Choreographer, Movement ConsultantJane Gibson
Movement DirectorAlbert Albert
Movement CoachAlexandra Konnikova
MusicVladimir Pankov / Alexander Gusev
Interpreter / Literary ConsultantDina Dodina
Company ManagerOlga Sharapova
Costume Designer’s AssistantNatalia Vedeneeva
Stage ManagerOlga Vasilevskaya
Guitar CoachSergey Rodukov
Trumpet CoachTaras Kutsenko
Technical DirectorVladimir Kizeev
Previous performances

Previous Performances

4–5 June 2018Moscow, Mossovet Theatre, Russia
11–12 October 2017Girona, Teatre Municipal, Spain
6 October 2017Vittoria, Teatro Principal, Spain
11–13 August 2017Beijing, National Centre for the Performing Arts, China
10 April 2017Moscow, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Russia
26 December 2016Moscow, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Russia
24–25 October 2016Sochi, Zimniy Theatre, Russia
26 September 2016Moscow, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Russia
14 May 2016Moscow, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Russia
22–23 September 2014Russia, Pskov
13 April 2014Russia, Khanty–Mansiysk
3–4 April 2014Belarus, Minsk
7–12 November 2006New York City, BAM, USA
13–17 June 2006 London, Barbican, UK
June 2006Oxford, Oxford Playhouse, UK
30 May–3 June 2006Coventry, Warwick Arts Centre, UK
April 2006Craiova, Shakespeare Festival, Romania
7 January 2006Sydney, Sydney Festival, Australia
24 November 2003Moscow, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Russia
1986–1987See also – Cheek by Jowl’s 1986–1987 production of Twelfth Night
Reviews and awards


“As close to undiluted pleasure as this ambiguous old world allows…Boundaries melt like ice cubes in August in the Chekhov International Theatre Festival’s blissful production of Twelfth Night… It finds an alchemical substance in Shakespeare that transcends the verbal.”

Ben Brantley, The New York Times

“Declan Donnellan’s Cheek by Jowl production has a dangerous magic… Miraculous sensitivity.”

John Peter, The Sunday Times

“Fifteen years ago, Cheek by Jowl staged an unforgettable all-male As You Like It with the young Adrian Lester as Rosalind and the Forest of Arden evoked by just strips of green silk streaming down into a bare space. Now on tour, the company’s boys-only Twelfth Night beautifully echoes that earlier Shakespearean romcom of sexual confusions… Imbued with charm, a gentle intensity, delightful flurries of farce and fresh interpretations… Haunting.”

Kate Bassett, The Independent

“We’ve come to expect daring from Declan Donnellan and Cheek by Jowl, but flagrant law-breaking is another thing entirely…magical…beautiful…Darkness and light, the dualities of good and evil, and the possibilities of transvestism are all explored with hummingbird wit and precision by Donnellan, designer Nick Ormerod and their astonishing Russian cast.”

Fiachra Gibbons, The Guardian


Nomination Els XX Premis de la Crítica de les Arts Escèniques 2018 (Catalonia)

Espectacle internacional (Best international production)
Production photo
Photograph: Keith Pattison
Production photo
Photograph: Keith Pattison
Production photo
Photograph: Keith Pattison
Production photo
Photograph: Keith Pattison

“Boundaries melt like ice cubes in August in this blissful production of Twelfth Night

New York Times

If this were played upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction.

Twelfth Night, Act III, Scene iv

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