Propeller’s The Comedy of Errors at Theatre Royal
Shakespeare in a mariachi style, you say? Yes. It happened.
Propeller are an all male Shakespeare company who inject so much energy and colour into their productions that you leave exhilarated and exhausted.
Walking into the theatre, we were greeted by a greasy Spanish policeman who sprayed us with the scent of ‘hombre’ which certainly got rid of the stench of the 34 bus. The mariachi band in European football shirts put the Doritos advert to shame.
The Comedy of Errors is all about two sets of identical twins that have been separated but, by chance, come to be in the same town on the same day. What ensues is farcical confusion as the twins are accused of crimes they don’t commit.
The Antipholus twins (wearing brilliant purple chinos and flowery shirts) and the Dromio twins were the focus of the action. Their slapstick comedy was refreshing and was punctuated by a kazoo (the best instrument, hands down), and the sharp delivery of the Shakespearean puns was fun and exciting to watch.
As an all male company, cross dressing is a necessity. Whilst Adriana (James Tucker) was slightly like a pantomime dame, her sister Luciana (Arthur Wilson) was simply better at being a woman.
The interval was a performance in itself as the lively mariachi band sang Madness to a swooning audience on the stairs. And then the same greasy policeman with the perfume sang to an unsuspecting lady in the front row the most hilarious version of Spandeau Ballet’s True I’ve ever heard. It’s worth going just for that.
The second act’s continuous farce became a little tiresome but maybe that’s Shakespeare’s fault and not Propeller’s.
Make an effort to see a Propeller production. Their style and energy make Shakespeare fun.
Propeller are performing The Comedy of Errors and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Theatre Royal until Saturday, book tickets here.