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The Comedy of Errors (Wadham College Gardens, Oxford)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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Oxford Shakespeare Company have established a strong local reputation for their very individual small scale productions of classic plays. This year we are treated to a revival of their 2004 production of The Comedy of Errors.

And it is a real treat.

High energy, high camp, high quality – it is one of the highlights of the offerings available this summer. Chris Pickles has always managed to give his productions an ingenious twist and we are certainly not short of innovation here. The show is packed with great slapstick, songs from the shows and plenty of strong performances.

Stylistically, things are kept very simple. In a play about two pairs of twins – such clarity is essential – and we are never in any doubt as to who is on stage at any time. The costumes and props are a little on the cheesy side at times but that fits well with the comedic needs of the presentation.

The cast of eight work incredibly hard throughout and their commitment to the physicality of the action (as well as care with the text) is central to the success of the production as a whole. It feels wrong to single out any one individual from this strong team – but Howard Gossington is an exemplary Antipholus (both of Ephesus and Syracuse) and James Lavender wins over the audience with a series of wonderful drag creations.

It is hard to imagine any other production being quite so fun-packed and it is a great piece of entertainment. I am tempted to go back again. Maybe I will see you there.



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