Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow
Beware, old-school European passport holders attempting to travel to mythical Shakespearian versions of neighbouring countries in the near future. As John McGeachie’s Syracusian abroad Egeon discovers from the start when he goes in search of his two lost boys in director Andy McGregor’s wildly irreverent take on one of the bard’s earliest rom-coms, little Ephesus is a local town for local people. In a show performed with unabashed glee by second-year BA Acting students, this doesn’t stop Speir Sadivo’s piano playing Duke vamping like a maestro before granting him a twenty-four hour pass to see who or what he can dig up.
Egeon’s two little boys, meanwhile, both called Antipholus, and each with servants named Dromio in tow, are clearly peas from the same pod. As depicted by James Ripple and Adam Butler as the Antipholuses and Mabel Thomas and Yolanda Mitchell as the Dromios, their identikit hipster looks causes all manner of confusion, not least with Ellinor Larsson and Maria Laird’s sisters Adrianna and Luciana.
Out of such nonsense and shenanigans blossoms a junkyard pop musical remix, which takes seriously liberal licence with Shaky’s original opus by way of a romp that pulls out all the stops to get to its very happy end. The action is punctuated by cartoon-strip style sound effects provided live by a cast who also play musical instruments as they go, with Kirstyn Rodger’s set changing scene by way of revolving blackboards.
Everyone onstage is clearly having a ball, and there is much in the way of ad-libbing going on. The propensities of Buckfast are explored by Antipholus of Ephesus when he comes a cropper after starting up a potty-mouthed audience chant while attempting to storm the nunnery. There is showboating galore too from Elena Redmond’s tap-dancing Courtesan, while the perils of rampant snogging while wearing lipstick is a lesson Marisa Bonnar, who plays Abbess Emilia, is unlikely to forget in a show that looks suspiciously like a fringe smash hit in waiting.
The Herald, January 27th 2020