How lovely to be back at St Peter’s Old Church. On the brink of Preston Park, making my way through the trees to the venue was part of my enjoyment of the evening. As I got closer and heard the harmonies of the actors float through the door, I was already having fun.
Witty, charming and cleverly choreographed, the show is a delight
My Theatre do this as a part of their offering – choose unique, beautiful locations to perform and sit singing to the audience as they arrive. It’s a whole vibe, and makes their performances special. This drew me to the show despite it being the kind of Shakespeare that makes me nervous – one of his comedies where everyone has the same name and ‘hilarity ensues.’ I love seeing Shakespeare but wasn’t familiar with this play and feared it would be too confusing or not funny. Would I be able to follow along, and what if no one laughed?
The Comedy of Errors is about Antipholus and his slave Dromio, who are searching for Antipholus’ brother Antipholus, who was lost in a shipwreck. Antipholus (the one who was lost) also has a slave called Dromio, just to confuse things a little. Then to confuse things a little more, Antipholus and Dromio are the identical twin brothers of Antipholus (the one who was lost) and Dromio, but no-one knows this in Ephasus where they all end up. Bonus double act: a pair of sisters called Adriana and Luciana, who both Antipholus’ (the Antipholi?!) are variously in love with. You can probably see why I was concerned.
I needn’t have worried. The show was such fun and I wasn’t lost for a moment. The cast, three main actors and bonus comedy banjo player (trust me, it works), used simple props and clever choreography to signal who was who. Watching them pull this off on a small stage with a tiny crew was a big part of the joy of it. I think at one point they portrayed nine roles between them, and the audience was enthralled.
We all giggled throughout as we watched Isobelle Pippin effortlessly act as two sisters at once, and Lily Smith’s role as musician charmed everyone despite having no lines. Her banjo and other instruments signalled the changes between scenes and she felt like a Fool in cahoots with the audience. As the play progressed, the chaotic antics on stage increased, but were always clear and cunningly choreographed.
Matt Tweddle climbing Ethan Taylor with remarkable skill was a particular comedy highlight. He and Ethan both inhabited their multiple roles with ease and confidence. Their delivery is also great, they are clear to understand in both word and expression. I’ve seen these guys do dark in Macbeth and tragic in Romeo and Juliet, and tonight they succeeded in comedy as well. Unfairly talented, and a lot of fun to see.
Witty, charming and cleverly choreographed, the show is a delight and I highly recommend it.