Rounding off this year’s season at The Pop-Up Globe is The Comedy of Errors. This fun, slapstick-filled tale of mistaken identity brings Shakespeare’s comedic classic to Auckland in this accessible production that gave us plenty of calamity and lots of laughs.
The story centres around two sets of identical twins. A storm at sea separates an old merchant from his wife, his twin sons and their twin servants, so he must brave a foreign land in search of them. Condemned to death after breaching immigration laws, he is granted one day to raise the money to save his life. Confusion ensues when his sons and their servants, Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant, Dromio of Syracuse, arrive in Ephesus, which turns out to be the home of their twin brothers, Antipholus of Ephesus and his servant, Dromio of Ephesus. Much confusion and hilarity ensues.
Presented by Pop-up Globe’s mixed Southampton’s Company, this fast-paced comedy mixed modern and traditional costumes as well as language; the breaking of the fourth wall often involved a break away from the traditional text. As we walked in to take our seats, we were greeted by militia carrying machine guns who had surround the Globe. It was a bit of an uncomfortable sight considering the current climate, however, the actors were so deliberately and overtly comical that any nerves are quickly settled. Much to the delight of the school kid groundlings, the action kicked off to a rather bloody start superposed by comical tableaus by the militia to help tell the merchants’ tale. Thus the scene was set for a chaotic and silly night ahead.
It’s not long before we meet our excellent protagonists in the two sets of twins who’s journey of constant confusion evokes ‘Benny Hill-esque’ runarounds and innuendos worthy of your favorite Carry On Films. They never tire and it becomes increasingly difficult to know who is who and what is what. Following the dramatic and bloody Macbeth, it was particularly enjoyable to see Stephen lovatt hamming it up with the rest of the cast.
As always at The Pop-Up Globe, the performers are dedicated to delivering Shakespeare to the masses, as was always intended, so they deliver an energetic, audience-pleasing and laughter heavy production. It was a much a joy to watch the play as it was to see the faces of the young audience on the ground enjoying it.
Catch this season of The Comedy of Errors at the Pop-Up Globe before it closes on (very appropriately) the 1st April.
Reviewed by Ingrid Grenar.