Writer: William Shakespeare
Director: Alex Clifton
Musical Director: Harry Blake
Choreographer: Rachel Catherall
Reviewer: Taylor Simmons
The Comedy of Errors is one of William Shakespeare’s earliest and shortest plays. Recognised as his most farcical, it is full of puns, slapstick staging, and elaborate word play. For those not familiar with its story, the plot revolves around two sets of identical twins that were accidentally separated at birth. In true Shakespeare fashion, the Syracusan separated twins – Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant Dromio of Syracuse – happen to arrive in Ephesus, the home of their separated identical twins, and thus follows a series of unfortunate but humorous events.
Mistaken identities? False accusations? Madness? Open Air Theatre? I know what you’re thinking – sounds like the standard ingredients of most of Shakespeare’s plays. What’s so special about this production?
The answer is – everything.
The cast of 15 work tirelessly to create a tight powerful ensemble where every performance is outstanding and second to none. There are no weak links. Musical instruments, singing, puppetry, physical theatre – there was nothing that these performers did not attempt.
Real-life identical twins, Danielle Bird (Dromio of Ephesus) and Nichole Bird (Dromio of Syracuse), and ‘best-fit’ twins Thomas Richardson (Antipholus of Syracuse) and Richard Pryal (Antipholus of Ephesus) were particularly exceptional. Their use of voice, physicality and physical comedy were incredible and you couldn’t help but feel overawed watching their energised portrayals across the two hours.
The use of actor-musicians combined with MD Harry Blake’s choice of songs (including Jessie J’s Price Tag, Whitney’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ and Britney’s ‘Oops I Did It Again’) certainly gave this production a more contemporary twist. But this served to add to the entertainment, farcical nature and success of the production, rather than detract from it. Regardless of age, interest or prior knowledge of the play, this is a hilarious evening of accessible entertainment.
In the idyllic surroundings of Chester’s Grosvenor Park, Chester Performs have created something extremely magical this summer. With tickets starting from £10, the only error you can make this summer is to miss this production.
Running in repertory until 24th August.