Take a trip to the seaside for fun adaptation of The Comedy of Errors at the Roman Theatre festival
- Credit: Pavel Goneski
Pull up a deckchair and enjoy a trip to the seaside as OVO's fun summer adaptation of The Comedy of Errors has opened at the Roman Theatre of Verulamium.
The production forms part of the Roman Theatre Open Air Festival in St Albans and transports William Shakespeare's play to The Phoenix beachfront karaoke bar and features live music and lashings of sun-soaked silliness. There's even a few nuns!
Directed by Matthew Parker, it's a high-energy, gleeful adaptation of what must rank as one of Shakespeare’s maddest, most farcical comedies.
Following Wednesday's press night, one audience member described it as "an entertaining combination of comedy, tragedy, and slapstick rolled into two hours of musical fun".
They added: "There was a karaoke bar, much singing of rock and pop classics, deft physical choreography and some brilliantly timed comic moments."
Standout cast members include Sam Denia (Dromio of Syracuse) whose rubber/physical comedy moments were gold, William Donaldson as drag queen Courtesan and Narrator, who had a great rapport with the audience, Rosie Edwards (Luciana), Lewis Jenkins as Antipholus of Syracuse, and Phoebe Marshall (Adriana), who has a great voice and managed her wordy script brilliantly.
The multi-level stage set designed by Simon Nicholas made full use of its platforms, steps and slopes, and the ancient hilly banks of The Roman Theatre served as on- and off-stage entries and exits, which further emphasised the farcical elements of the Bard’s story.
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Colourful costumes by Delga Martineau and great sound by Nat Casey complemented director Matthew Parker’s madcap Shakespearean vision.
In his programme notes, Parker writes: "I had such a wonderful time directing Henry V for last year’s Roman Theatre Open Air Festival that when The Maltings asked me back to do another outdoor Shakespeare this year I leapt at the chance.
"And top of my list was The Comedy of Errors. It is a hoot. No two ways about it. It’s just a very funny play from the get go.
"There is something so funny and deeply satisfying watching two sets of identical twins and all the people around them constantly get muddled up with who is who.
"So that’s a great starting point for any production. Thank you Will!"
The Roman Theatre Open Air Festival 2021 is the Maltings Theatre's biggest festival yet, with 69 shows across seven weeks. Visit maltingstheatre.co.uk/home for more.