Review: Comedy of Errors by Harlow Theatre Company

Harlow Playhouse / Tue 19th May 2015 at 12:17pm

By Harry Tennison

IT is often said that you cannot take Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors seriously, and this is the same in Jeanne Stacey’s production. She adopts conventions of the silent film era – using slapstick comedy, melodramatic gestures, intense physicality and some truly excellent reactions – in her direction for Harlow Theatre Company to bring the farce to life.

The play revolves around the separation of two sets of twins who are reunited as a result of a series of seemingly coincidental events in very quick succession, concluding in both a marriage and a reunion!
The cast were made up of past and present students of Phoenix Theatre School, and worked very well under Stacey’s guidance. Will Saunders and Daniel Boulton played the two Antipholus’, with both portrayals being distinctive enough to create different types of humour, but similar enough to notice, in hindsight, that they actually were twins.

Their confused wife was the excellent Katie Miller, who played the alcohol dependent and hilariously scatty Adriana. Molly Jenkins was her servant, Luciana, and the pair’s onstage chemistry was superbly funny.

Drew Gregg was the scheming goldsmith, Angelo, who stood out with a thick, yet clear, accent throughout and some great physicality. His nervous twitch worked similarly to Rhiannon Bates’ boundless reactions, with both ensuring that they embodied their characters throughout.

Joe Llewelyn, Ollie Stacey and George Jack all multi-roled well, with Llewelyn’s portrayal of the rather plump kitchen maid, Luce, being particularly notable.

The two stand out performers from the production, however, were Will Edden and Joseph Vaiana who played the twin Dromio’s. They were bold and energetic throughout and deservedly took the final bow.

Rob Dyer’s simple set design worked very well in conjunction with Stacey’s directorial vision, and the projections detailing the scene and the context were very effective; perhaps more so than in any production I have seen utilise such a method before. The costumes were very apt for each character and helped us to imagine the true farcical nature of the plot.

It was clear that this production was created very collaboratively between the director and the cast in order to make a really fun piece of theatre. The script was adapted to just the right length and made this a comfortable ninety minutes of playful acting.

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