Players produce a 'blinder' of a performance
The Comedy of Errors
The Castle Players
THE Castle Players are back to the wonderful setting on the back lawn at The Bowes Museum with The Comedy of Errors, the most farcical of Shakespeare’s comedies and the one I find the funniest and most accessible.
The Players’ version of The Comedy of Errors was ingeniously set in the world of Peaky Blinders which fits the story perfectly.
This far-fetched tale features two sets of identical twins, two masters called Antipholus of Ephesus and Antipholus of Syracuse, each with a servant Dromio of Ephesus and Dromio of Syracuse.
Each master and servant headed in a different direction after being separated during infancy in a shipwreck.
Many years later, Egeon a merchant of Syracuse, arrives in Ephesus in search of his son Antipholus and servant Dromio.
To create complete confusion, Antipholus and Dromio also arrive in Ephesus where mistaken identity and calamity ensues.
The scene showing Egeon (Peter Firby), and Solinus, Duke of Ephesus, (Angus Wheeler), along with a number of cast members is excellent, as Egeon recounts how he came to Syracuse.
The storytelling here is probably the best opening scene I’ve seen in The Comedy of Errors.
The two sets of twins Antipholus of Ephesus (Ross Hutchinson), Antipholus of Syracuse (Ben Pearson), Dromio of Ephesus (Peter Cockerill) and Dromio of Syracuse (Sarah Fells), were all full of energy and outstanding throughout.
Peter Cockerill had some of the best comedic scenes, relishing the role especially those with his wrong master.
The perfect timing was reminiscent of Laurel and Hardy.
Adriana, wife of Antipholus of Ephesus (Bunny Forsyth), was a sheer delight every time she entered the stage.
Unfortunately, I can’t mention every member of the cast, but they all played a massive part to create the full ensemble, showing how lucky we are in Barnard Castle to have such a talented crop on our doorstep.
However, I must mention Louche (Keith Irons), a lone figure hovering around the corner of the stage, serving drinks, observing the action and of course having a few drinks of his own. I couldn’t stop glancing over to watch him.
An excellent addition to this production was the specially created band The Creaky Grinders.
The songs reflected the storyline perfectly and they looked as if they’d been performing together for years. I hope they will appear together again soon to perform for a full gig.
There may have been the odd unintentional mishap on the night, but that didn’t detract from an excellent production from The Castle Players.
The clarity of the story with the hilarious consequences made this a highly entertaining evening.