The Comedy of Errors (3 stars)

This article is from 2014

The Comedy of Errors

Bristol Old Vic Theatre School present take on Shakespeare with broad appeal

Finding new and exciting ways to deliver Shakespeare to children is a challenging, but by no means impossible, task. Bristol Old Vic Theatre School is making a speciality of it, after last year’s superb Romeo & Juliet, and now that farcical tale of mistaken identity, The Comedy of Errors.

Many of the elements we’ve come to expect from these talented students is still firmly in place. Strong characterisation, highly physical movement born out of astute direction – and a knack for delivering Shakespearean language that can be understood by all.

The tale itself, however, is far from simple: two sets of identical twin brothers are separated at an early age, then turn up in the same city years later and render mass confusion amongst their friends and relatives.

A lot of thought has gone into keeping the narrative clear and concise, but occasional dips in understanding are a definite possibility – partly due to the decision to turn the story into a Vaudevillian romp, which slightly muddies the waters.

On the plus side, it allows for some witty and enjoyable characterisation (the twins in particularly), even if the slapstick starts to wear a bit thin after a while.

Assembly George Square, 226 0000, until 16 Aug (not 11), 11am, £9 (£7).

The Comedy of Errors

  • 3 stars

Take Thou That Theatre with Bristol Old Vic Theatre School The Comedy of Errors is a stripped down version of Shakespeare's most ridiculous comedy. Running at an hour, Shakespeare's original play is enhanced with smatterings of modern text, and the production draws on the rich traditions of vaudeville, slapstick comedy…