PROPELLER BREATHED new life into Shakespeare with its production of The Comedy of Errors as part of this year’s Galway Arts Festival.
This retelling of the Bard’s farcical tale of mistaken identity is a high octane romp through a hedonistic landscape of lovestruck cops, bunny girls, and PVC-clad nuns.
This UK-based theatre company has created a distinctly modern context in which the drama unfolds, though it remains true to the script — with some comical asides thrown in for good measure — and to the Shakespearean tradition of an all-male cast, a fact which gives its female characters a comical air from the outset as they discuss gender politics over tea.
In a nutshell, Errors is the tale of two sets of identical twins — both called Antipholus and Dromio, a master and slave respectively — separated at birth, whose paths cross one day, leading to accusations of infidelity, theft, and even demonic possession as each is repeatedly mistaken for the other.
Propeller, a company which specialises in contemporary interpretations of Shakespeare, has created a high-energy action comedy set to a soundtrack — provided by the cast — which encompassed everything from mariachi rhythms to Spandau Ballet, and even continued during the interval.
The production also delivers a healthy dose of physical comedy, most notably from the otherwise demure Luciana (David Newman ), who reveals a talent for karate as the story unfolds, and the hapless conjurer Pinch (Tony Bell ), whose evangelical entrance and ignominious exit are highlights of the play.
The theatrical high jinks, and the sheer fun of the performance, make for a very enjoyable production.