Shakespeare’s slightest play has rarely felt slighter than in Sell A Door’s latest production. The short and occasionally witty farce, in which two long-separated sets of twins fall into considerable confusion when their fortunes collide, is as close to inconsequential as anything in the canon, and unfortunately this production is insufficiently interesting to justify the trip to Ephesus.
By resetting the action to a 1950’s British seaside resort, the production apparently seeks something of a Carry On Comedy of Errors atmosphere, and there are indeed a number of genuinely funny moments, but on the whole the lack of many truly charismatic performances and the failure to integrate the setting in any real way with the text leaves it floundering.
Bryn Holding’s direction certainly maintains a rapid pace, but the result of this is a sort of relentless boisterousness that quickly begins to grate. One aspect which remains engaging, however, and the undoubted highlight of the production is David Eaton’s turn as Dromio of Ephesus, a performance which realises the pathos as well as foolishness of the role.
It’s by no means a dreadful production, and taken as a piece of saucy pantomime fluff it could offer an entertaining evening, but even Comedy of Errors has a good deal more to offer than this, and I had hoped that the award winning Sell a Door Theatre Company would too.