Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre brings The Comedy of Errors to the Broad

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Photos by Angela Weiss

Mischief’s afoot at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica as Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre returns with a touring production of The Comedy of Errors that runs through November 27. The farcical foolery of this early Shakespeare work plays out with breakneck speed, full of slapstick kicks, drops, and punches to the face, accompanied by music and a multitude of clever sound effects (complete with a ‘slap stick’ for many of those hits). It’s a lean and light tryst that maximizes the comedic abilities of its players while hiding more serious themes underneath its frivolity.

A traveling troupe of eight players, playing a traveling troupe of more players, take on all the characters, which means not only are the roles of Antipholus and Dromio doubled, as is often the case, but others are as well. This opens up a whole new world of opportunity for humor as the actors run back and forth, adding a hat or other costume piece to establish that they may be talking to another character elsewhere on the stage who is actually being played by themselves. Watch for the reappearance of Egeon in the last scene and you’ll see what I mean. If it all sounds confusing never fear. In the Globe’s actors’ expert hands, you’ll always know who is who and you’ll love the ingenious way the characters flip back and forth, often quite literally.

The story concerns two sets of twins separated at birth who turn up in the same city and are mistaken for their counterparts, though they themselves don’t know that’s what is happening. Bill Buckhurst deftly plays the two Antipholuses (or should I say Antipholi?) of Syracuse and Epheseus, and Fergal McElherron is Dromio, servant to each master. McElherron steals the show with his breathless performance, giving one of Shakespeare’s best loved fools as much heart as hilarity.

The Globe’s ensemble makes the most of its assets, delivering the text with crisp, natural precision and moving joyfully about in this make believe world of ‘let’s put on a show.’ Stylistically we are somewhere between Mecca and Morocco with a tent pitched as the backdrop to the action atop a wooden platform stage and actors decked out in colorful desert attire.

Don’t look for anything stuffy or highbrow here. Though The Comedy of Errors does frame itself with a moral dilemma that finds resolution in the end, it is its swan dive into the depths of low comedy where it finds its surest footing.

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre tour of The Comedy of Errors runs through November 27 at The Broad Stage, located at 1310 11th Street Santa Monica, 90401.  For tickets and more information go to www.thebroadstage.com

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre Returns to The Broad with Hamlet « Shakespeare in LA
  2. Trackback: A Hamlet for Today at The Broad Stage « Shakespeare in LA

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