The Comedy of Errors

I’ll qualify this the way I do my other theatre reviews by saying that I have absolutely no experience at that kind of thing and mine is just the average imperssions of a punter in the stalls.


With that in mind I had a thoroughly brilliant, brilliant evening at the Abbey’s new production of The Comedy of Errors last night. The staging is sparse but perfect for the play, the cast are great with Charlie Bonner’s Antipholus of Syracuse the stand out for me coming a close whisker in front of his foil for the evening, Peter Daly’s Dromio and the whole couple of hours rattles along so that you’re breathless by interval and wanting more by home time.

Shakespeare wasn’t made for the attention spans of the 21st century. Miss thirty seconds and the whole flow of what you’re seeing can start washing past you like rapids, unlike some TV where you can miss thirty minutes and still get the gist, and you can’t condense him into 140 characters or less (although I’m sure somewhere, someone is doing this as I type).

As in any truly good production of the greatest writer the world has ever known, here, the words are the real stars. Seeing them as dry on the page is never the same as seeing them played from the heart or the gut by someone who knows their craft. This might not seem so special:

It is thyself, mine own self’s better part,
Mine eye’s clear eye, my dear heart’s dearer heart,
My food, my fortune and my sweet hope’s aim,
My sole earth’s heaven and my heaven’s claim.

Tonight, it brought a soft and entirely unexpected tear to my eye, just as this might not seem so hysterical:

Marry, sir, she’s the kitchen wench and all grease;
and I know not what use to put her to but to make a
lamp of her and run from her by her own light. I
warrant, her rags and the tallow in them will burn a
Poland winter: if she lives till doomsday,
she’ll burn a week longer than the whole world.

Tonight it nearly brought the house down. Definitely one to go and see.

I’m sure given the amount of us there last night there’ll be more on The Culch later on…