The Comedy of Errors
Olivier Theatre, London
Monday 12th March 2012
Having navigated our way around the guts of the National, the impressive Olivier stage housed a towering dockside for the opening of The Comedy of Errors, which transformed variously into the multiple locations throughout Ephesus, brought up to the minute with high-heeled prostitutes and thuggish snooker halls.
This is typical Shakespearean comedy, with lots of recognised devices; twins, a shipwreck and oodles of mistaken identity.
The pace was quick and punchy and was maintained well throughout by the energetic and experienced cast. The Antipholus', Lenny Henry of Syracuse and Chris Jarman of Ephesus, were strong, commanding presences in wonderful contrast to their short, bouncy Dromios, Lucian Msamati and Daniel Poyser respectively, compact and clownlike.
The four musicians, covering scene changes with their accordian led interpretations of popular tunes, were an amusing and entertaining device, excellently executed.
The final 'reveal' scene was a delight, with confusion written on each brow across every member of the numerous company. A great interpretation of one of Shakespeare's least thought-provoking, but most entertaining comedies.