Vibrant Shakespeare comedy of no errors

Ella Prince, left, and Julia Billington in “The Comedy of Errors”. 

Theatre / “The Comedy of Errors”, directed by Janine Watson. At Canberra Theatre till October 8. Reviewed by SIMONE PENKETHMAN.

JANINE Watson and her forged breathe vibrant life into “The Comedy of Errors”.

It’s Shakespeare’s shortest and maybe easiest play, filled with implausible coincidences, snappy wordplay and slapstick farce.

This Bell Shakespeare manufacturing is ready on the magical island of Ephesus with a thumping ’70s disco soundtrack. Colored balloons bob about on a stage filled with loud fits, gold bling and a sequinned kaftan.

However the opening scene brings grief, urgency and a matter of life and demise to the fore.

Egeon (Maitland Schnaars) has entered Ephesus illegally and will likely be put to demise until he pays a ransom.

The lights flip moody as he pleads his case to awaken the sympathy of the Duke.

He’s an previous man trying to find his spouse, his equivalent twin sons, and their equivalent twin servants. The household was break up in two by a shipwreck a few years in the past. 

This darkish starting to an in any other case gentle comedy is fantastically performed by Schnaars who evokes a way of formality by means of his phrases and motion. 

The remainder of the forged are a mesmeric ensemble behind him. Shifting along with an assortment of classic baggage, suggesting transience and confusion. 

The Duke offers Egeon sooner or later to boost the ransom – or die.

The lights brighten and the music and dancing start.

As luck would have it, each units of twins are already in Ephesus! 

Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant Dromio of Syracuse are trying to find their long-lost brothers. They’ve simply arrived on the island. 

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Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus have lived on the island for many of their lives and do not know that their brothers are trying to find them.

Mistaken id drives the plot.

The casting and interpretations of characters are quirky, modern and various.

The slim, blonde, non-binary Dromio twins (Julia Billington and Ella Prince) are a delight. These cheeky, extremely bodily, comedian servants are all the time on the centre of confusion, continuously and unknowingly switching masters. 

Balloons grow to be weapons in slapstick standing video games.

Tight, energetic dance routines transition between scenes.

Giema Contini as Adriana, the spouse of Antipholus of Ephesus, is excellent. In a plot pushed by chaos, she is grounded. Her quick-witted repartee is underpinned by a real and anguished suspicion that her husband’s affections are straying.

The ritualistic gravitas of the opening scene turns into theatrical magic on the finish as misunderstandings are resolved, the previous man’s grief assuaged and the Duke’s forgiveness forthcoming.

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Ian Meikle, editor