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The Comedy of Errors

Kings Theatre, Edinburgh
4 stars
It’s worth keeping an eye on the sombrero-sporting bar band playing
package tour Mariarchi as the audience take their seats for Edward
Hall’s sit-com inspired romp through Shakespeare’s double-bluffing yarn
of twins separated at birth. Running in tandem with the all male
Propeller company’s similarly audacious production of Richard 111, by
the time we reach the interval, they’re collecting for charity on the
stairs, busking a set of pop classics that somehow manages to mash up
Eurhythmics with the White Stripes.

If such levity suggests Hall and his twelve-strong cast are having fun
with the bard’s shortest work, you’re not wrong. The words are all
there, but so is a scarlet-suited Duke who should be fronting a Heaven
17 tribute act, a dominatrix Abbess and a northern club turn with a
firework up his bare backside who could be the ghost of Malcolm Hardee.
The lost twins themselves are a riot of loud shirts and quiffs for the
two versions of Antipholus, while the smiley t-shirted Dromios look
like some runtish cheerleaders for the impending rave generation. With
the twins female counterparts (as played by the guys) done up to the
nines in primary-coloured mini dresses, leggings and Madonna-style
top-knots on their faux-vintage head-bands, it feels like Hi Di Hi goes
to Benidorm.

The difference between Hall’s production and the 1970s big-screen
comedy adaptations it resembles is that it’s funny, with the entire
ensemble well-drilled enough to throw in a whole load of live sound
effects and period Kung Fu chops to the already cartoon violence.
There’s even a version of The Girl From Ipanema serenaded to the
senoritas on the front row. Hola! to that.

The Herald, February 28th 2011

ends

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