Don't miss: Twelfth Night at Houghton

A star-studded performance of Twelfth Night takes place this month raise funds for the Theatre Royal's 250 Appeal.

A star-studded performance of Twelfth Night takes place this month raise funds for the Theatre Royal's 250 Appeal.

Shakespeare's bittersweet comedy will be performed at Houghton Hall from Wednesday, July 25 to Saturday, July 28.

Some of the finest actors in the country are taking part in the performance.

The cast currently includes Helen Atkinson Wood, Desmond Barrit, Sasha Behar, Stephen Fry, Jamie Glover, Liza Goddard, Derek Griffiths, Matthew Kelly, Mel Smith and Harriet Walter.

An intoxicating merry-go-round of misplaced passions, mistaken identities and comic misunderstandings, Twelfth Night is packed with high comedy, low tricks, riotous frivolity and sparkling wit.

Viola and her brother Sebastian are shipwrecked in a land of illusion and fantasy. Viola believes her brother died in the wreck and disguises herself as a boy to become page to the lovesick Orsino.

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Viola is entrusted with carrying his unrequited messages of love to Olivia. Believing Viola is a boy, Olivia falls passionately in love with her and so begins Shakespeare's tangled web of romance and confused affections in this stunning new production.

The exciting cast for this show is full of familiar faces. Helen Atkinson Wood is probably best known as Mrs Miggins in Blackadder The Third, and has twice been nominated as Best Female Comedy Performer at the British Comedy Awards.

Olivier Award winner Desmond Barrit, who is a seasoned actor with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), has directed and starred in many pantos in Norwich and was last here in the lead role of the National Theatre production of The History Boys.

Sasha Behar is best known as "mad" Maya Sharma on Coronation Street and also appeared in the series Lewis.

Comedian, presenter, actor, writer and film-maker Stephen Fry, who lives in Norfolk, is currently appearing in the hit series Kingdom, which is filmed in Swaffham.

Jamie Glover appeared as Andrew Treneman in Waterloo Road and has a wealth of experience on stage in productions of Shakespeare plays. Liza Goddard, another Norfolk resident, has appeared in many sitcoms and series including The Brothers and Bergerac. Derak Griffiths is best known to TV addicts as the presenter on Playschool and Playaway.

He also has many West End musicals under his belt, has been a member of the RSC and has had great success as a composer. Derek appeared as Captain Hook in Peter Pan at Norwich Theatre Royal in 2005. Matthew Kelly is well known for presenting TV shows including Stars in Their Eyes and has also enjoyed great success as an actor in recent years including roles in Cold Blood and Bleak House. He played Malvolio in Twelfth Night at Norwich Theatre Royal in 2006. They are joined by popular comedian and actor Mel Smith who, along with Griff Rhys Jones, starred in Not The 9 O'clock News and Alas Smith & Jones, and highly respected stage and screen actress Harriet Walter, who has worked with the RSC and featured in the films Sense and Sensibility, and Bright Young Things directed by Stephen Fry.

Twelfth Night is a Norwich Theatre Royal production directed by Peter Wilson, designed by Paul Farnsworth with music by James McConnel.

t Twelfth Night, Wednesday, July 25 to Saturday, July 28, 7.30pm, Houghton Hall, £65, (01603) 630000, www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk

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