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National Theatre Gives Shakespeare Play A Lesbian Twist

Simon Godwin’s inventive gender-fluid production of Shakespeare’s most perfect comedy has a vital elan and some great performances
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Simon Godwin’s production of the Shakespeare comedy recently opened at the National Theatre, with a cast including Tamsin Greig.

Greig, whose career includes TV roles in Episodes and Green Wing, takes on the role of the usually-male puritanical steward Malvolio, who is tricked into believing his boss is in love with him.

However, in Godwin’s production the character is gender-flipped as Malvolia – a change that brings a distinct lesbian element to the 415-year-old story.

Speaking to the Evening Standard, Greig praised the fluid nature of gender in theatre, adding that now “there is no part that a woman can’t do”.

She said:

I think the way Simon has directed it, he has really opened the conversation about the fluidity of identity. We don’t define ourselves nowadays — possibly always, but the conversation is hot now — within recognised boundaries anymore.

Because it is a hot conversation you have to be careful about how you participate in it, and not just participate in it for its own sake.”

A string of recent Shakespeare adaptations have embraced the gender-fluidity that was at the heart of traditional Shakespeare productions.

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