Screwing with Shakespeare 

Twelfth Night
Indiana Repertory Theatre
Directed by Richard J. Roberts
Through March 3

I love it when people screw with Shakespeare. And director Richard J. Roberts’ production of the Indiana Repertory Theatre’s Twelfth Night takes liberties that make Shakespeare anything but boring.

Retro-pop music, such “YMCA” and “Lola,” has been inserted into this 90-minute version that speaks to the cross-dressing aspect of the play — and there are any number of other ditties that refer to the intricate love webs. Robert K. Johansen as the jester Feste gets many of these musical numbers, showing off not only a grasp of the text’s underlying sarcasm but a great voice.

The cast does superlative work getting the cadence of Shakespeare’s words to translate for a modern audience. Diction and body language come together to create clear meaning, so you never find yourself losing the gist of the story. The cast — including well-known locals Jennifer Johansen as Viola, Bill Simmons in multiple roles, Milicent Wright as Maria, Ben Tebbe as Sir Andrew, Charles Goad as Malvolio, Nick Carpenter as Sebastian, Robert Neal as Orsino, Kristen Lennox as Olivia and Jeff Keel as Sir Toby, plus the aforementioned Robert K. Johansen — works so well individually and as an ensemble that you forget you are watching a “classic,” as every sexual innuendo and cruel jest comes through loud and clear.

The stage is a riot of sand and color, thanks to scenic designer Robert M. Koharchik. Be sure to stay through to the end for the hilarious group dance choreographed by Dance Kaleidoscope’s David Hochoy.

Twelfth Night is part of the Wellpoint Discovery Series, as well as Free Ticket February, which provides free tickets to ages 13-19. Performances are Saturdays through March 3 at 2 and/or 6 p.m. Call 317-635-5252 or go to for schedule details. Tickets run $15-$39

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