The Play’s the Thing
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS, perhaps not Shakespeare’s greatest or smartest comedy, thus an aptly named play?
Comedian Lenny Henry has moved up (or down) from playing the tragic Moor of Venice to taking on custard pies, tin trays and mistaken identity in THE COMEDY OF ERRORS at the National Theatre until April next year. Perhaps Shakespearean Pantomine is better suited to Henry, but has Shakespeare early comedy done him any favours?
In the Telegraph, Charles Spencer is kind enough to excuse the material in favour of enjoying the show:
It’s true that by Shakespeare’s later standards the comedy is sometimes crude, with lots of scenes of the Antipholus twins beating their incompetent servants, the identical Dromio brothers. But there is a hurtling vigour about both play and production, and the mistaken identity routines and farcical chaos often prove a comic delight.
But Christopher Hart in the Sunday Times blames the playwright:
It’s a dud, a full four centuries past its sell-by date. Like any author, Shakespeare must have felt he’d done a pretty good job on some of his stuff, but others — well, at least they would pay the rent. No matter how much energy and inventiveness are poured into it, The Comedy of Errors is only rarely comic and often irredeemably tiresome. The harder you try, the more gruelling it becomes.
Oh dear, even the Bard had to start somewhere…
Read all reviews here.