Comedy of Errors – Mitchell School of Drama – Review by Margaret Hearne
The Comedy of Errors – Mitchell School of Drama – Garioch Theatre Festival
“Take two sets of estranged twins, keep them in ignorance of each other and throw them into a city reputed for sorcery”.
Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors” is exactly that: a fast paced comedy stemming from the errors of mistaken identities, wrongful accusations, unjustified beatings and overall bewilderment. Thus it takes a skilful company of actors to perform this play successfully but the Mitchell School of Drama (MSD) have achieved that success. This production, under the inspired direction of Rhona Mitchell, creates the necessary confusion of character and plot but does so with such clarity that the audience can follow the plot and relish the comedy.
This show has all the hallmarks of an MSD production: admirable diction, vividly portrayed characters, charming ensemble choreography and acute attention to every detail. Add to this well-executed puppetry and adept magic tricks. As always with MSD, songs and dances are woven seamlessly into the story – this time, music from the 1950s – thus inspiring full company numbers such as “Your cheating heart” and “Why do fools fall in love?”
Yet, amidst all the fun and frolics, there are splendid moments of magic and mystery. Ephesus, where the play is set, is deemed to be a city of sorcery and, via lighting and magical sounds, these moments of strangeness provide contrast to the farce.
In the principal roles, the identical masters are well-contrasted in personality as played by Paul Patterson and Reuben Gedge, while the two hapless servants, all energy and bounce, are played by Imogen Watt and Erin Stark. Olivia Watt and Elizabeth Smith perform stylishly as the two misled sisters. There are several character cameos of excellence from Euan Reid, Alexa Sambrook, Euan Banks and Grace Geddes; while others are outrageously effective – Elijah O’Connor, Jack Foreman, Cara Whitelaw and Conor Archer. The wee magicians, Meg Stanger and Josh Simpson, are a delight. Each of the players, however, deserves mention for their total commitment and sparkling energy.
Costumes by Liz Cork are, as ever, striking and characterful; music and atmospheric effects are created by Ashley Forbes and his small band of accomplished young musicians. Overall this bold, funny production pays credit to the imaginative direction of Rhona Mitchell, and to the ethos and energy of her entire company.
Catch this show again as part of Aberdeen International Youth Festival at The Lemon Tree, July 28 – 30.« Back