Photo credit: http://www.ntposters.org.uk/image/781521/the-comedy-of-errors
I saw this tonight (Wednesday 11 January).
I will be honest. I was not at all excited about it, even though my friends who had seen it, and theatre buffs whom I trust, had all said it was excellent.
The reason is ... I don't really like the Shakespeare comedies with happy endings. I much prefer the Shakespeare tragedies packed with heartbreak and despair, murder and death. The ones where all the key characters die at the end. I think that tells you more about me than about the plays!
However, I LOVED this adaptation. It was set in contemporary London and all the key parts - father and mother, the two twin sons and the two twin servants were all played by Black actors, all of whom were excellent. The adaptation was strong on laughs and slapstick and the full range of humour, but it managed to be touching and moving when it needed to be eg the reconciliation scene at the end, where the family and the two sets of twins are reunited.
Spoiler Alert - Skip this paragraph if you want
The best bit for me (which totally surprised me and took my breath away with its audacity) was when - in the manner of the helicopter landing on stage during Miss Saigon - they had a real ambulance drive on and off the stage during the production, complete with flashing lights and siren. Gob-smacking!
I had gone along, convinced that I was not going to like this (I have never seen a production of The Comedy of Errors before, and nor had I read through the play in advance as I normally do with Shakespeare that I have not encountered before; I had only read it up in my quick and easy guides to Shakespeare's plays). But I was proved wrong! I love it when that happens!
Due to the humour, the slapstick and the fact that it is well and truly played for laughs, this is also a good Shakespeare production to take young people along to if you want to give them a taste for Shakespeare, and show them that he is relevant to the here and now, and can speak to today's audience about today's world.
I will repeat the promo for it when it gets its NT Live on 1 March.