A chorus of `errands`

First YPS — Young People’s Shakespeare, production, The Comedy of Errors dated 2009, — available for rent on Digital Theatre, launched a RSC project aiming at bringing together established actors from the main company, and directors from other companies, — here Paul Hunter and Hayley Carmichael of Told by an Idiot to promote the Canon among children, or: `young people`.

This condensed 80-minute version of the play for a Key Stage 2 audience, — here captured live at the Clapham Community Project, came out as a lighthearted, while impeccable in semantic, feast of ‘errands’. Flamboyant narrative made of improvisation — here in its perfect `soil` of interaction with the little `watered` spectators, and a chorus of instruments and voices navigating through the original lines of a `slapstick physical romance`.

Cinematic references to The Royal Tennenbaums, — the two `Antipholuses` dressed up as a twins version of Richie Tennenbaum, unforgettable hairy, headbanded, tennis prodigy in dark glasses, beige blazer, and the two `Dromios` as a twins version of Chas Tennenbaum, unique — as it is in this particular pair, widowed tycoon in a fuzzy red tracksuit, set the scene into some New York courtyard on a clumsy Summer day.

Something klezmer in the music resonates, and a Ghost Buster black T-shirt is the pop `code` which welcomes into the spirits’ world one enters once the hall turns into a theatre through a wide square wood board, the schoolchildren on the ground seated all around. This is the whole of an urban, bewitched Ephesus, and if one listens closely, one might even hear a sirene on the distance.

The duke is a small hoodlum running his small portion of the city, and his jails are so small, Egeon the Syracusan (David Carr) is kept into an unplugged refrigerator. Fate runs the plot through a `golden chain` of misidentifications, `madness`, — a pace juggling piece-in-the-piece on ‘The man is mad’ tune, `magic`— `Sure, these are but imaginary wiles, and Lapland sorcerers inhabit here`, and money.

Emilia — priory’s abbess, anticipates the happy ending with a tap dancing interlude, while all falls into place, aided by spoon-playing, and a baloons-extravaganza: `Dromio, Dromio, wherefore art thou Dromio`. No nuptial promises are set on stage, but a binding closure is foreseen. Finger to finger, as in a cruel mirror, the real world recalls, but a smile the faerie tale has lent us, and will not be forgotten.


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