Slapstick and humour in open-air production

The Comedy of Errors - BATS July 2014 SUS-140508-112031001
The Comedy of Errors - BATS July 2014 SUS-140508-112031001

It’s always a pleasure to visit the Manor Gardens on a summer’s evening and it’s even better if you get to watch a comedy.

Debut director Helen Pierce presented Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors. It is a farce about two sets of identical twins, separated at birth, who end up in the same city, dressed the same and unaware of each other. Cue multiple mistaken identities and misunderstandings.

Played without a set and in colourful costumes, this traditional production, raised laughs from an enthusiastic audience.

Jack Pierce, in his first performance, was very promising as the bemused goldsmith. Amongst a solid cast, there were great moments from Nathan Ackerley and John Brown as twin servants. Stewart Miller played a wonderful, wide-eyed Antipholous, confiding in the audience as if we were old friends.

Anne Hughes was an enthusiastic ‘lady of negotiable virtue’ and Kerry Grant proved an incredibly understanding wife to horrible Sean Coughlan.

Michael Turnbull (channelling John Cleese) almost stole the show, with almost no lines, as an eye rolling medical man, clearly as mad as a box of balloons.

As an early Shakespeare play, there were some difficult speeches in rhyming verse, and the joke about the horns of cuckolds but, that said, slapstick and good humour certainly won the audience over.