I Malvolio reviews
I, Malvolio is incredibly funny, utterly heart-breaking, deeply sophisticated, beguilingly simple, hugely compassionate, completely uncompromising and incredibly intricate. All at the same time.
There are repeated refrains and a rather tiresome sight gag involving leopard-print underpants.
…a by turns hysterical and harrowing study of thwarted dignity, cruelty, bullying, self-hatred and metatheatrical revenge.
Crouch’s Malvolio is a pompous ass who falls somewhere between the buffoonery of Boris Johnson, the absurdism of Vic Reeves and the misguided self-importance of the late Princess Diana’s former butler Paul Burrell.
Like them, Malvolio plays his part seemingly all too well, only to fall victim to his own misfortune by not recognising that he’s actually a little bit rubbish as what he does. In a deadpan comic turn, this is something Crouch himself could never be accused of.
This is a treasure, an hour to remember and to chase round its tour….Immaculate, moving, funny, wise.
…terrific skill and passion…
Crouch’s 60-minute I, Malvolio was originally created, along with three other similar plays, as a way of introducing restless teenage audiences to Shakespeare; but there’s nothing anything less than fully adult about this searing deconstruction of the conflict between Malvolio and – well, who?
Not only the other characters, it seems, but us, the audience of relentless good-time boys and girls, laughing at Malvolio’s humiliation, mocking the brief hope of love he enjoys, and seeking amusement in a decadent, cross-dressing, make-believe art-form that Mavolio, like any good Puritan, roundly despises.
… the performance we are watching is crude, crass, and a downright joyous celebration of theatre. Here, Crouch is a performer at the top of his game, sharing a text that plays as much with intelligence as slapstick.