Thursday, 3 April 2014

Theatre 2014: Review Eleven

Propeller's The Comedy of Errors, Theatre Royal Norwich. March 2014.

I've heard a lot about Propeller over the past few years and this year was the first time that I've been able to see them as they visit Norwich.  They are an all male company but they update Shakespeare rather than follow any of the other features of Original Practice.

Several days on I am still not sure what I think about what I saw. Propeller certainly took the word Comedy and ran with it but for me it went so far that it stopped being funny.  This is one of the plays I have studied this year and I do know that there is more to the play than the slapstick humour.

The modern dress didn't bother me too much, nor the setting in a Spanish/Mexican town but the way the lines were delivered and the modernising of them to get light-saber jokes in went too far.  It was a master class in slapstick but that it was always a slave being beaten may not have been clear to the audience.

Men dressing as women obviously appealed to the rest of the audience I saw the play with as every time a man in a dress appeared there were hysterics. Mind you as the characters were played in a manner that reminded me of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Rocky Horror and a Vicars and Tarts party perhaps they weren't to far wide of the mark...!

I was looking forward to seeing this play from this company and I came away feeling very disappointed. It was like bad student pantomime, roll on the version at The Globe later in the year.

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