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The Comedy of Errors (Heaton Park)

By • Northwest
WOS Rating:
Venue: Heaton Park
Where: Manchester

The title, Comedy Of Errors seems quite unjust for a production performed with such accuracy and vitality. Shakespeare’s Globe On Tour skilfully bring the ambience of seventeenth century theatre into the twenty-first century, with their extremely witty adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s earliest and most farcical works. Elizabethan history is rekindled masterfully, acting taking place on a functional booth stage in the beautifully idyllic surroundings of Heaton Park.

Take two sets of identical twins, Antipholus of Ephesus and Antipholus of Syracuse, plus their servants Dromio of Ephesus and Dromio of Syracuse, separate them at birth, then place them in the same city many years later, and utter calamity is bound to occur.

Exploring the comedic theme of mistaken identity, alongside the more touching concept of the strength of familial bonds, the narrative has the capability of humouring, whilst simultaneously perplexing, an audience. If unfamiliar with the play, it is advisable to perhaps read a brief synopsis beforehand, in order to truly appreciate the directorial perfections of Rebecca Gatward and keep up with the fast-paced dialogue.

Meaningless to say, despite such confusions, the story does not even compare with the complexities of King Lear or Hamlet, it’s light-hearted tone making it perfect for the enjoyment of any generation. Children will not only find the scenery alluring, the visual aesthetics of the piece, including stunning costumes and simple choreography, alongside a praiseworthy implementation of music, is enough to keep them captivated and make the seemingly dense language accessible.
 
The energy of the cast is truly electric, their togetherness often instigating sudden outbursts of applause from the audience. The female characters are well polished, yet are surpassed by the men, owing to the depth of their parts.Given it is his debut performance, Ronan Raftery as the two Antipholus, looks like he has been professional for years.Yet, Miltos Yerolemou, as the two Dromius’ steals the show, his ‘watch-ability’ is overwhelming, as he makes something so obviously rehearsed appear entirely spontaneous.

However, although the informality of the outdoor location is appealing, there were times when you could see the actors’ movement backstage. The limitations of the venue undoubtedly cannot be helped, yet occasionally stillness offstage would have prevented distractions.

This is what I hope to be one of many returns from Shakespeare’s Globe on Tour to Manchester. You may be left questioning the characters (and your own!) sanity by the end of the play, but the overall success of the piece will be indisputably clear.

-Rebecca Cohen

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