Manawatū Summer Shakespeare returns to the Victoria Esplanade Rose Garden for their 18th year with the bard's Twelfth Night of lust, laughs and larks.

Director Mel Cook says to "come celebrate life".

"Twelfth Night is the eat, drink, and be merry antidote to the gathering clouds of our times.

" Pack a picnic, assemble your posse, don a lewk, and sing along with the aesthetic riot in the roses.

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"It is better to crack a glow stick than curse the darkness."

MSS says Twelfth Night is perhaps one of the bard's silliest plays written entirely to amuse the Queen for Christmas.

The cast promises a wild, raucous romp of a party.

International immersive theatre director and visiting artist Cook has crafted a colourful and quirky production of this chaotic comedy.

Set in modern day Illyria the inhabitants of this world exist in a reality where 80s beats are rocking and the colours are constantly clashing.

Think 80s and 90s nostalgia meets 21st century tech.

"Set in an extremely privileged modern world, these are people who ultimately have the space and freedom to question and remake their identities.

"Young, well-heeled influencers, older, party letch uncles, and the support staff who actually work," says Cook.

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Made by the community, for the community, all shows are entry by koha/donation.

A jewel in the crown of the arts calendar, MSS is fuelled by volunteers along with professionals.

From builders and painters to marketers, stage managers, actors with day jobs, students, and seniors, many return year after year to celebrate theatre in the gardens.

Twelfth Night celebrates LGBTQIA+ people like no other Shakespeare play.

MSS promise this 2020 performance is the most inclusive production yet. The play is queer and family friendly and the stage placement around the duck pond in the gardens allows for easy wheelchair or pram access for audience members, too.

Get ready to party like it's 1989. Spot prizes for anyone who comes dressed up.

Performing at the Victoria Esplanade Rose Garden on top of the pond: 7pm, February 27, 28, 29 and March 4, 5, 6, 7, March. Matinee, 5pm March 1. Entry by koha/donation/gold coin.