Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

A Comedy Of Errors At The Globe

The Comedy of Errors is an oddity- farce rather than comedy- and not much like anything else in the canon. We know it was presented at a big shindig at Gray's Inn and it's my guess the lawyers commissioned it specially; They'd have been grammar school boys and therefore Latinists- and I can see them going to the players and saying, "We want something as much like Plautus as you can make it". It's a heartless play- by Shakespearian standards- but with the potential to be genuinely funny. Right at the end- with the families reunited- comes a chance to do something other than merely amuse- and echoes bounce back- across the breadth of a career- from Cymbeline and A Winter's Tale.

This Globe production (2014) majors on knockabout. It's a big stage- with plenty of room to go large- and there's chasing and beating and throwing and shouting.  Much violence is done- but no-one is really hurt- and no doubt this sort of thing went on at the original Globe as well. Shakespeare's clowns were big stars and to get there they must have done a lot more than is preserved in the play texts. A wordless opening sequence- quite unShakespearian- involving a Dromio (Jamie Wilks) and a clothesline- is slow burn physical comedy and worthy of Buster Keaton.
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.