Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Sunday, 25 August 2013
The Comedy of Errors, Aug 24, 2013 ****
By William Shakespeare Bell Shakespeare Fairfax
Studio, Melbourne Arts Centre, Aug 21 to 31, 2013 Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Aug 24 Stars: **** This review was NOT written for Herald Sun. KH
Imara Savage’s production
of The Comedy of Errors is a boisterous and uproarious interpretation of
Shakespeare’s early comedy about mistaken identities.
Shakespeare’s text and language but updates the characters and context to a
seamy, inner urban, 21st century nightclub scene (looks like Kings’
Cross) that is rife with dodgy dealings, hookers and corruption.
Two sets of identical
twins were separated as babes; the two masters called Antipholus survive in
different locations – Syracuse and Ephesus – each with one of the servant twins
When all four appear in
the same town, the slapstick chaos of confusion reigns.
Of course, Shakespeare,
even in this early play, could not write a comic romp without inserting a
dramatic component that, in this case, is a poignant, introductory lament by Egeon
(Eugene Gilfedder), the aged father of the Antipholuses.
arises from the twins being mistaken for each other by family, business
associates and servants.
Both Antipholuses (Nathan
O’Keefe, Septimus Caton) look like smarmy, young corporate executives in shiny
suits, while their servant Dromios (Renato Musolino, Hazem Shammas) wearing
scruffy flannel shirts, jeans and beanies, look like cunning street thugs.
The audience roars with
laughter at the knockabout slapstick humour that has the Antipholuses and
Dromios repeatedly being smacked and walking into doors.
Elena Carapetis is
hilarious as Adriana, playing the shrill, carping wife as a jealous “wog girl” in
leopard print and absurd high heels, while Jude Henshall is pert and tacky as
her bimbo blonde sister.
There are some terrific
cameos from Suzannah McDonald as the lisping nun, Anthony Taufa as a huge drag
queen and a Mafioso Duke, and Demitrios Sirilas as Angelo, the sleazy jeweller.
Pip Runciman’s sleek,
airport-meets-city streets design is versatile while David Heinrich’s sound and
music are punchy and evocative.
The Comedy of Errors is a
rollicking good comedy with inventive direction by Savage.