Writer: William Shakespeare
Director: Paul Gladwin
Reviewer: Michael JH Wells
Aware that productions of Shakespeare’s work can all too often suffer a lack of inspiration that calls to mind the dullest of school lessons, The Principle Theatre Company bucks this trend with vibrancy and panache. This is how Shakespeare ought to be seen and ought to be played – and boy do they play! Taking one of the Bard’s earliest and shortest comedies – The Comedy of Errors – they give it a Mo-Town theme and inject an infectious energy whenever possible to drive the action from start to finish.
For those unfamiliar with the story, it follows the lives of two sets of twins, separated at a young age, only to find themselves in the same town many years later. Mistaken identity and chaos ensue, leading to the kind of confusion and mayhem that one would expect. Of all Shakespeare’s comedies, this is perhaps the least funny off the page, however when given over to such a playful cast, superbly directed by Paul Gladwin, they squeezed every ounce of humour available from the script and added enough of their own creative ideas to make it very funny, while being sure not to veer too far off course.
The cast had a chemistry and vigour that was infectious, and special mention must go to Daniel Hallissey, whose Antipholus of Ephesus had a fiery and edgy side to him, which at times was captivating to watch. Also Rhian Marston-Jones, playing Luciana was a permanent source of laughter. The standout performance of all though, was Richard Thorn, playing Dromio of Syracuse, who was a bundle of energy from start to finish and was a joy.
If you want to see Shakespeare played as it ought to be, by a cast who clearly love what they are doing, head to Coram’s Fields before this wonderful show finishes. Take a bottle of wine, a picnic and some friends, and you will have a fantastic time.