To close its second season, Silver Spring's Round House Theatre is offering "Twelth Night," its first Shakespearean venture.
If there are lapses in performance and production, it is still a respectable effort, successful enough for Round House to think about staging another Shakespearean play in a new season.
The subtitle of this sunny comedy is "What You Will." And what the Round House troupe wills for "Twelth Night" is to have madcap fun with this farce that uses the old mistaken-identity ploy (old even in Elizabethan times) to create preposterous comic misunderstandings.
The production moves at a sprightly pace under the direction of June Allen. The single set allows free-flowing movement from scene to scene.
To their credit, the members of the cast do speak Shakespeare's lines clearly and distinctly. But most of them simply do not have the trained voices and style to catch the rich resonances of the Bard's language.
Some of Shakespeare's funniest comic characters enliven the tangled plot about mistaken identities and misdirected love.
There is Malvolio, the pompous, humorless steward in the household of Olivia, who is tricked into believing that his mistress loves him in cross-gartered yellow stockings with a perpetual smile on his face. Jerry Whiddon does Malvolio to a fine turn, with one delicious moment when, with a great sigh of relief, he relaxes his smile to return to his accustomed dour countenance.
Michael Littman minces and prattles excellently as the silly Sir Andrew Aquecheek. As Sid Toby Belch, David DiGiannantonio is wickedly mischievous but could be a trifle heartier.
Mark Jaster, with the mobile face of a comic, contributes greatly to the fun as Feste, the jester. He carries of Shakespeare's word play with flair. Deborah Siedel is a spirited wench as Olivia's serving woman.
Credit should also be given to David Leong for staging the fencing scenes.
"Twelth Night" runs through May 25 with performances at 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Round House Theatre is at 12210 Bushey Drive, Silver Spring, off Connecticut Avenue.