Comedy of Errors | Epsom College
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Comedy of Errors

The Comedy of Errors is one of William Shakespeare’s early plays. It is his shortest and one of his most farcical comedies, with a major part of the humour coming from slapstick and mistaken identity, in addition to puns and wordplay. Here Lower Sixth pupil, Poppy Tilling, reviews the show.

“Having been asked to write the review for The Comedy of Errors, I decided to think about my experiences with Shakespeare as they are not easy performances. Being able to understand and follow along with Shakespearean plays is one challenge, but to perform it is an impressive task.

I soon realised that I have never previously encountered The Comedy of Errors, so I turned to the RSC website for the full summary. When I read the synopsis and watched a video, I was quite confused by the intricate story. It is easier to perform a piece which you understand, and with these complex plots, the M4 cast had a real job to complete.

The play opens in the port of Ephesus, where the audience first meets Solinus, played by Toby Renford-Fox, at the arrest of Egeon, played by Daniel Clatworthy. Here, the audience learns the story of the lost twins and their twin slaves.

Moments after hearing the tale of the sets of twins, we meet Dev Sharma’s Antipholous of Syracuse. The moment Dev steps onto the stage he dominates it. His presentation of his character is outstanding: he never breaks character, he knows his characters’ intentions, and is dedicated to illustrating these throughout the performance.

Sisters Adriana and Luciana, played by Tessa Mapp and Ananya Kailasam, were a joy to watch. These young actors have quite clearly picked up Shakespeare’s rhythm, and it is satisfying to the ear as they pronounce their lines. The classes at the beginning of rehearsals have clearly paid off – these skills will stick with the cast throughout their acting careers.

A special mention must be awarded to Phoebe Chesser, who not only prepared for her role as the officer, but was also the understudy for Luciana. Phoebe was ready to jump into the role in the event that Ananya’s injury prevented her from performing,

One of the play’s highlights is Jack Sisson’s first appearance as Luce. Jack takes on the role as the lover of Dromio, dressed as a maidservant. It is nice to see some of the Shakespearean traditions have stuck with the directors, Mr Harvey and Mrs Nussbaum, with men playing the female roles.

One of the main plots of this play is the story of the twins, but this does not stop Rupert Metcalfe in the role of Antipholus of Ephesus. The irritation of Rupert’s character shines through to the audience and – similarly to his on-stage twin – he sticks to his character right through to the moment the lights go down at the end of the play.

The merchants, courtesans, and guards in the production truly add to the atmosphere of the play. These characters are played by Samuel Sheehan, John Gartside, Bea Scott, Maja Dhanani, Sasha Patient, Annalise Dixon, Lucinda Austin and Alexander Watkinson. Not only did these students prepare for their own roles, but some of them were also understudies ready to go on stage at any moment.

The comedy of the play would not be possible without these cast members, and their constant reactions really made the performance come to life.

I would not have been able to write this review without praising Jack Paulson and James Roberts, playing Dromio of Syracuse and Dromio of Ephesus. Before the actors even make their way to the stage, the boys had opened the show with the preshow announcement, already starting the comedic plotline following the confusion of the twins.

James’ physical acting skills are phenomenal; he moves around the stage with purpose and his comedic movements have everyone laughing. Jack Paulson’s portrayal of Dromio is wonderful; with his facial expressions and voice alterations. his constant confusion and worry is always clear to the audience. 

The play finishes with a celebration, which in the Shakespearean tradition is normally a dance or a song. The directors opt to do a celebratory dance, choreographed by Mrs Buhagiar. This closing of the performance is accompanied by an original piece by Mr Johns.

The show wouldn’t be possible without the backstage and tech crew. A huge thank you goes to Mr Kerswell, Miss Foster, Mr Bishop and Mr Richardson, as well as students Freddie Hawkins and Harry Wearne who worked alongside them.

All cast and crew should be extremely proud of what they have accomplished in the past months. Their hard work has really paid off, bringing the College another night of entertainment.

I am looking forward to working with this young cast in the future as they rise through the ranks next year to be involved with the senior productions.”