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Bell's Twelfth Night is new take

IT'S Shakespeare, but not as you know it.

Gone are the speeches in old-fashioned English, cardboard sets and pantaloons often associated with Shakespeare productions.

Bell Shakespeare's production of Twelfth Night is different. The Bell Shakespeare Company is known for its contemporary and anachronistic interpretations of the Bard's work.

For NIDA graduate Adam Booth, the opportunity to perform with the company was too good to refuse.

“I did a lot of Shakespeare during my study at NIDA, but Bell is not traditional or conventional. It's contemporary and a bit more Australian,” he said.

“It's a chance to work with Shakespeare in a different way, play with Shakespeare and interrupt those characters differently.”

Twelfth Night is essentially a story of disguise, confusion and love. Nothing is what it seems and no one is who they appear to be.

Booth plays Sir Toby Belch, a character he's revelling in playing.

“I think there are a lot of Sir Tobys in this world,” said Booth.

“Private school boys who will be excellent lawyers some day, but right now there's a lot of drinking to do.

“This one's a really Australian one and I hope a lot of people can relate to him.”

When we speak, Booth has been on tour with the show for about four months. In that time has developed a few quirks, superstitions and rituals that he has to complete before going on stage.

“They are a little weird,” he says with a laugh.

“There's this moment in the play that requires me to catch a cardboard tube in my left hand in a strange situation.

So I practise catching it 20 times before the show and 10 times in the interval.

I did it one night and it has just turned into a superstitious thing.

“Another quirk is there's a bushfire scene where we are required to come on dirty and I have to have just the right amount of dirt on my nose.”

While Booth has extensive acting experience both on and off the stage, he originally gave it up to study law.

“I did a lot of acting when I was a kid, but then I thought I needed to be serious and I went and did a law degree.

“But then I realised I'd given up something I loved. So I moved to Sydney and studied at NIDA.”

Booth's acting credits also include a part in the recent HBO mini-series The Pacific.

“It was an amazing experience. The boot camp was intense and the shooting was incredible,” he said.

Don't miss Twelfth Night when it plays at the Gladstone Entertainment Centre on Thursday, October 7. Tickets are $35 for adults, $25 for concession and $15 and are available from the venue.

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