(Rated 4/5 )
This was marvellous entertainment! Such a simple, well-executed plot involving mistaken identity – well there’s a surprise ;) – two sets of twins, and a whole series of errors. To me it felt as though it was over in a few moments – as they say time does fly when you’re having fun and this had bucket-loads of that! A fast-paced, high-jinks comedy, which felt somewhat like Morecombe and Wise do Old Bill’s best rhyming dialogue, including many bonkers beatings that had us crying with laughter.
Lenny Henry was the absolute master of comedy as ever. And Chris Jarman an excellent match as his twin of the same name, Antipholus. The Dromios – Lucian Msamati and Daniel Poyser - were fabulous as well. Also of note was Amit Shah, highly humorous as Angelo, the disgruntled goldsmith, chasing both Antopholuses for money for the gold chain commissioned by one of them.
Lenny proves that he wasn’t just a one hit Shakespearean wonder as Othello, and combines his perfection in comedy with his new passion for the Bard. He convincingly becomes increasingly confused and indignant, as he is chased by the law and women believing he is his brother and accused of madness. His elocution is faultless and the audience may recognise a few mannerisms from his stand-up such as cawing ;) Others were not so clear in their expression – a bit of mumbling – though still the delightful rhymes shone through.
The set was amazing – revolving blocks creating numerous different types of construction – our favourite the Phoenix block of flats. This production was set in modern times and the costumes were lovely.
This lesser known of Shakespeare’s plays stands out above many of his comedies in the way it is treated here by performances and production.
Note: The ‘we’ in the above is not royal, but multiple as this review is based on comments from all four of us who attended.
P.S. For those with disability of the lower limbs it’s worth noting that there are many flights of stairs to climb to The Olivier Theatre. You may like to take the lift. The seats are very comfortable. And the setting – The South Bank – is a personal favourite of mine.