REVIEW: Comedy of Errors

Southsea Shakespeare Actors, Station Theatre, Hayling Island, Wed 13th Nov to Sat 16th Nov 7:30pm and 2:30pm Saturday Matinee.

The busy port of Ephesus serves as the backdrop for Southsea Shakespeare Company’s riotous production of ‘The Comedy of Errors’ at the Station Theatre, Hayling (home to HIADS). What Shakespeare couldn’t do with several sets of long-lost twins, grieving parents and city call-girls is nobody’s business. Familiar elements of mistaken identity, lust and marital strife make this one of Shakespeare’s funniest and easiest plays to follow, even for the inveterate Bard nay-sayer.

From curtain up ‘til last bow, the gifted ensemble work seamlessly together to deliver a fast-paced, colourful and exhilarating evening’s entertainment. Vincent Adams, as Director, presents us with a conglomerate of beautifully timed slapstick, opera and pantomime to hurtle the show along. The two sets of twins, a pair of Antipholuses (ably played by Ben Tanner and David Pearson) and Dromios (the physically gifted Aaron Holdaway and Dan Hill) are miraculously cast, spookily resembling each other and giving truth to the ensuing confusion.

This is storytelling at its best as the tightly choreographed cast create picture after picture to illustrate and clarify the plot – even creating a ship in a storm with a length of gossamer fabric and a few sticks for masts. An accomplished cast throughout, look out for the velvet-voiced Patric Howe (Egeon) who draws you into the story from the off; the impatient, toe-tapping and sparkling Leigh Cunningham (Adriana, wronged wife); and the brief appearance of the hilarious Matt Gibbins (Doctor Pinch) who, with rubber hands, blackened eyes and exquisite delivery, pumps up the comedy yet another notch.

Not to be missed. Until Saturday 16th November.

Sarah Parnell