Review: The Comedy of Errors

A fun-filled Shakespeare farce, and no mistake


Brilliant, hilarious and totally surreal - and that's just the interval entertainment.

The entire cast, in sombreros and sunglasses, collect in the theatre foyer for a medley of '80s music, with guitar, maracas and violin.

That alone should give an idea of the wackiness and total irreverence of this production by the all-male Propeller group. Think Shakespeare plus The Village People plus the Archaos circus.

Even before Propeller got its hands on it, this was probably Shakespeare's daftest play. The stage company add layer after layer of farcical improbability on to an already farce-filled plot, based on the mistaken identity of two sets of twins.

Antipholus and Antipholus (Dugald Bruce-Lockhart and Sam Swainsbury) are the sons of a merchant, dressed alike in improbable lavender.

Dromio and Dromio (Richard Frame and Jon Trenchard) are their slaves, wearing smiley-face T-shirts and comedy wigs. Years before they were all on a sea voyage in their infancy when their ship was hit by a storm. One Antipholus and Dromio end up in Syracuse, and now this pair have come to Ephesus to seek out the other Antipholus and Dromio.

Edward Hall's magnificent production is one big party, with slapstick, musical jokes, bawdiness in the best Shakespearean tradition, and a few crazy and seriously off-script diversions.

Hall insists Shakespeare does not need to be made more accessible because that would suggest "dumbing down". He has simply cranked up the fun factor to strike the same chords as the play did when the Elizabethan peasants filled The Globe theatre 400 years ago.

And it works. (Tel: 0843 208 6000)

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