Tuesday, July 16

The Comedy of Errors – Eastbury Manor House

Double twins and twin doubles! This quartet of Three Inch Fools bring it all to the stage in their rambunctious rendition of “Shakespeare’s shortest comedy” trimmed of all its fat and implanted with several eye catching new musical interludes.

Billed as “a musical take on Shakespeare” the Fools’ performance methodology is a tried-and-true formula. There are trap doors, nametagged doublets, ad libs, and prat falls -gimmicks galore. The play is both pure frivolity and ruthless efficiency as the company works overtime to squeeze every gag and galivant into the hours before darkness claims their almost obnoxiously charming outdoor playing space.

Detailing (and on many occasions instead summarizing) the exploits of long-lost and reluctantly-reunited identical twins Antipholus and Antipholus and Dromio and Dromio, this four-person production is streamlined by doing away with any conceit of one actor taking on whole ownership of any one character. Instead, various costume pieces and props are imbued with the qualities of its assorted cast and meander around the stage on orbits entirely of their own. The madcap antics of both plot and performers in this case are well rewarded by an eager audience and this iteration of the play is particularly suited to young viewers who can match its restlessness. Interaction between audience and actor is encouraged by this staging and brings with it many unexpected delights as well as carefully choreographed surprises.

The chemistry between the cast is undeniable but it is the hearty mutual relationship bridging the fourth wall that anchors this production. As the much maligned Dromio of Syracuse and the madly malignant Doctor Pinch, performer Peter Long imbues his efforts with a particularly engaging physicality and winsome comedy. His adorability is matched in extremity by castmate James Aldred’s captivating repulsiveness as Luce, Dromio of Ephesus’s insatiable wife.

The show’s two standout ballads are performed by Lucy Chamberlain and Charlotte Horner, respectively and both vocal performances bring the house down and crack the audience up. The uninhibited joy of song, undimmed by wind or rain, is a pleasure to share in and this Comedy of Errors hits exactly the right note.

Reviewer: Kira Daniels

Reviewed: 30th May 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.