The comedy of errors

In a postmodern approach to the famed work of ‘The Bard of Avon’, the Melbourne Shakespeare Company presents a contemporary take to The Comedy of Errors. There is much buffoonery in this adaptation, one that engages the audience with its madness, creative use of outdoor space at Siteworks in Brunswick and droll singing by a four-man band in lavish make-up and floral costume.

Applying postmodernism as a 20th century style and concept in literature, the creative arts and criticism, the play puts new wine in old skins with contemporary music but stays true to the language of auld. It embraces new ways of thinking in borrowing, reusing and remixing older ideas to generate new art.

The cast is energetic, fervent in drawing audience participation and mirth. We find stimulation in Adriana and her tentacle-like clutch on her husband(s); in the twins Antipholus of Ephesus and Antipholus of Syracuse and their eccentricities during a terrible mix-up; in the two Dromios and their fumbling and bafflement; in the duke and his stern measure of judgement; in the abbess and her wall-shattering croon; in the officer of the law and his ineptitude; and in the equally enchanting merchant who might just lose his head, in the courtesan and her gleaming eye for gold; and in the rest of the cast and their gleesome appearance.

In suggestions for refinement, a restrained version that is less dramatised and contains subdued make-up might make this inventive performance more plausible. Nevertheless, the flamboyant rendition tickles out hearty laughter and potentially some farts!

The passage of time has not affected the constant demand for the playful Bard’s work, and the muse he still casts upon us. In this side-splitting performance of one of William Shakespeare’s assorted comedies, the Melbourne Shakespeare Company brings to life the enormous pleasure the playwright must have had in crafting this play.

Running until 2 April 2017.

See what else the Melbourne Shakespeare Company has in store for you.


Photo credit: Burke Photography.