REVIEW: The Comedy of Errors

Robyn Bellinger found few errors in this comedy.

comedy of errors Corpus Playroom Japan pembroke players Shakespeare Theatre

The Pembroke Players’ recent production of ’The Comedy of Errors’ (just back from touring in Japan) was without a doubt a resounding success.

A Comedy of Errors is a Shakespearean tale of mistaken identity and confusion, about twins improbably accidentally reunited after twenty years apart. This was reflected effectively in the play through the costumes. Both Bea Svistunenko and Rosanna Suppa (playing Dromio of Syracuse and Dromio of Ephesus, respectively) wear identical clothing, clearly showing the audience that they were meant to be twins. Similarly Ed Limb (Antipholus of Syracuse) and Tom Beaven (Antipholus of Ephesus) both wear the same thing. This made it easy to confuse the two characters in the fracas throughout the play, in spite of the fact that it clear neither pair were actually twins, which made it a lot funnier and also more convincing.

Tom Beaven as Antipholus of Ephesus and Rosanna Suppa as Dromio of Ephesus

There were very strong performances from all of the actors, but my personal favourites were Rosanna Suppa and Zak Ghazi-Torbati (who played both the Duke and Nell). Suppa had such strong delivery and was easily able to hold the audience’s attention during long parts of dialogue thanks to a wide-range of facial expressions and use of physical comedy. Additionally, her character didn’t seem to be forced- despite being funny- which was impressive. One could argue that Ghazi-Torbati’s portrayal of Nell was slightly over-the-top, however, but it was done in a very controlled manner, making it humorous, rather than ridiculous.

Tom Beaven and standout performers Rosanna Suppa and Zak Ghazi-Torbati

The very physical acting here was a nice break from concentrating on the archaic language of the lines delivered by the actors- it also meant that if you missed any of the subtler humour, you had something to laugh at. An integral part of the performance was definitely Rose Reade playing the violin- the underscore she created really contributed to setting the tone of the scenes. If you consider that Reade was simultaneously acting in quite a large role (Luciana) it is no mean feat.

Play it again Rose Reade

The staging was simple (as to be expected from a touring show) but effective. The deceptively simple staging was used in a variety of ways so that everything had a purpose and nothing was there ‘for the sake of it’. For instance, there were many suitcases on stage, symbolising the characters travelling, but they were also used as props for a stage fight later on in the play. The unusual choice of ‘weapon’ also added to the comedy.

All in all I would recommend this performance without question- it was genuinely funny, whilst staying true to the original play.

A piece which both the actors and everyone else involved should feel incredibly proud of.