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David Hutchinson & Phillip Rowntree for Sell A Door Theatre Company present


The Comedy of Errors

 

 


By William Shakespeare


Directed by Bryn Holding


Greenwich Playhouse


25 Jan – 20 Feb 2011

 

 

 

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A review by Carmen Nasr for EXTRA! EXTRA!

 

Where best to let the slapstick antics of what must be Shakespeare’s most farcical play run amok, than the 1950s world of old Blighty’s glorious seaside kitsch? Amid the bunting, sticky seaside rock candy and sea-weathered beach huts, Sell A Door’s The Comedy of Errors goes beyond the boundaries of comedy and into the outlandish weirdness of farce – on a day down the seaside.


Often brushed aside as lacking any real depth or substance, The Comedy of Errors is one of the more neglected of the Bard’s dramas, yet one of the most wildly comical.  Arriving on the distant shores of the remote Ephesus, a trader in search of his missing son is sentenced to death. Can he get hold of his son before it’s too late? In the meantime, his son Antipholus along with his servant Dromio arrives on the same shores, blissfully unaware that it happens to be the home of their respective estranged twin brothers of the same names. It isn’t long before the wild mishaps of mistaken identity and misguided love lead the two sets of twins and those around them into a frenzy of ludicrous calamities, and to the very brink of madness.


Director Bryn Holding’s kitsch ‘50’s seaside transformation works a treat in placing the slapstick essence of the play in a world of the unreal and strange, allowing the implausibility of events to sit comfortably in the surreal nautical surroundings. Adrian Gee’s production design is simple and effective, the minimal set allowing the loud ‘50’s costumes to work their magic.


The production does not hold back when it comes to the excessiveness of the farce and slapstick humour of the text. The company’s energy is relentless, and almost every line is delivered with well - crafted comedic punch. For those not so much inclined to the hilarity of the farce genre, there are times when the frequent falling down and caricature expressions feel rather wearisome.  However Shakespeare’s witty and intelligent verse is not overwhelmed by this excess and the performers do a fine job delivering the text.


Holding directs a very capable cast in this fast paced comedy. Mark Collier and David Eaton lead as the jester-like twin servant Dromios steal the show and deliver separate Dromios that could easily be mistaken for each other. Nico Lennon’s Antipholus feels sincere and believable even among the ridiculous chaos. Sarah Llewellyn-Shore’s Luciana was played with the perfect balance of controlled foolishness and drew laughs from the audience with a skilled subtlety. Robert Madeley deserves a mention as the uncomfortably creepy Goldsmith and the wonderfully bizarre Conjurer.

Despite a whole hearted embrace of farce that may not suit all tastes, and an at times slightly unnecessary amount of running about, Sell A Door deliver a fine production and an energetic celebration of Shakespeare’s silliest play.

 

 

Box Office: 020 8858 9256
www.galleontheatre.co.uk
www.selladoor.com


Greenwich Playhouse
189 Greenwich High Road, London SE10, 8JA
Tue-Sat 7:30pm and Sun 4pm
£12/£10 Concessions

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