Sunday, 7 June 2015

Comedy of Errors: Bard on the Beach

Bard on the Beach Bard on the Beach has opened with previews of a new production of "The Comedy of Errors". I saw this play in July of 2009, but this is a wholly new production, directed by Scott Bellis and based on one he did for Studio 58. The style is Steampunk: "a subgenre of science fiction and sometimes fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery." (wikipedia)

The costumes rely heavily on sunglasses and goggles, which means you really do not notice when people are doubling up on roles. The plot is, of course, ridiculous. Two sets of identical twins, who get split up by a storm at sea, who then have the same names, but when one set goes in search of the other is surprised when people mistake them for someone else, but do not put 2 and 2 together. And of course the actors cannot be identical though the two Dromios in this production (males played by females) do look very similar. The way twinship is established is through costumes, which, of course we all accept. Ben Elliot and Jay Hindle are physically rather different but as they only appear together infrequently in entr'acts for much of the performance that really doesn't matter.

Excellent performances from all, and some well handled stage business plus imaginative design of both set and costumes and the time flies by. This is actually Shakespeare's shortest play and the only time I found my attention wandering was during some of Adriana's longer speeches. Sereana Malani is cast a shrewish wife, but her Antiphon gives her plenty of cause for complaint: being late for dinner is the least of it. There isn't much opportunity to play her any other way, which is a shame and could be changed, I think, to provide a bit more of a rounded character. Her costumes are astonishing but cannot carry the entire show. Lili Beaudoin has a small but memorable bit as The Courtesan - and an even better costume!

I have booked all four shows this year, carefully spaced out at one a month. Quite simply, I am a fan of Bard and will happily go to anything they put on. But even so I heartily recommend this production. You do not need to be a fan to enjoy the show.  

No comments: