. . . to really achieve its full potential, this play needs to be acted out on stage. Still, highly excellent, involving twins, cross-dressing, love tangles, sword-fighting, secret marriages, music, disguises, mistaken identities, high speech, and lowbrow humour.
The entire play takes place in Illyria. In the main plot, Orsino is in love with Olivia, who unfortunately does not return his feelings. Viola is shipwrecked on the Illyrian coast, and dressed as a boy, comes to serve in Orsino's court, where she of course falls in love with Orsino. Meanwhile, in Olivia's court, some of her courtiers plan a cruel--but funny--practical joke against her pompous steward Malvolio. There is also a third plot later on involving Viola's twin brother Sebastian, who has been shipwrecked likewise. Naturally things get quite confusing, but, true to Shakespeare's comedic style, everything gets worked out in the end.
This is an enjoyable book to read, and the notes are very helpful. However, it is still better as a performance.