The Comedy Of Errors is known as one of Shakespeare’s earliest and most whimsical plays. The story follows a set of twins following very different lifestyle paths - Antipholus of Scarborough, an already well established star, and Antipholus of Prescot (not to be confused with Liverpool! - a running joke throughout the play), a struggling actor trying to get his shot at stardom. Paired with their right hand men (Dromio of Scarborough and Dromio of Prescot), they run into disaster upon disaster as mistaken identity takes place.
I must begin my review by commenting on how beautiful the Shakespeare North Playhouse is. Whilst still looking modern, the staging takes inspiration from Shakespeare's playhouse, with seating around the stage. This gives a real intimate feel and allows the audience to really feel part of the action - with the actors entering and exiting around the seats. The staging is minimal with the occasional prop being brought onto the stage to move the story to a different location. With the added bonus of the sound effects, this really worked well and proved that sometimes less is definitely more. The costumes and lighting also gave an effective nod towards the eighties in which the play was set for this production.
I felt a little apprehensive to begin with as I am not overly aware of the works of Shakespeare. However, thanks to Elizabeth Godber's and Nick Lane's cleverly adapted script, it was modernised in a way that made it easy to follow and was engaging throughout. Full of laugh out loud comedy and eighties classic hits (which accentuated the retro vibe), it was difficult to find anything to dislike about this production. However, the second act started to feel slightly long and I personally feel that some of the jokes could have been cut back. However, this was redeemed by a fantastic traditional jig in the finale which regained my attention. There are such important messages of belonging, the importance of family and of love conquering all throughout this play and it feels refreshing to see it being done in a comedic and lighthearted way.
All actors must be commended for their performances. Every member of the cast stood out, with high energy (not straying from the stage for far too long) and the correct amount of exaggeration to give this play the whimsical edge originally created by Shakespeare. There is such good rapport between both sets of Antipholus (David Kirkbride and Peter Kirkbride) and Dromio (Zack Mawdsley and Oliver Mawdsley) - consistently bouncing jokes off each other throughout. Alyce Liburd played Antipholus of Scarborough's wife perfectly - with the correct amount of hysteria when she mistakes her husband as the wrong twin which leads to a great escalation. Andy Cryer has the audience in the palm of his hands, he goes from playing the serious duke to playing the hilarious Pinch (magician and hypnotist for the talent show) with ease. Valerie Antwi, Claire Eden and Ida Regal are all excellent in their performances - moving the story along effortlessly as they play their different roles.
If you are looking for a retro, fun, nonsensical insight into the world of Shakespeare, then look no further than The Comedy Of Errors (More or Less). Perfect for those unfamiliar to Shakespeare and his wide array of famous plays, it provides the audience with the feel good factor which leads to you leaving the playhouse with a huge smile on your face. The Comedy of Errors plays at The Shakespeare North Playhouse until Saturday 25th March. For more information, click to follow the link here.
AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review