The Comedy Of Errors at Shakespeare’s Globe

Published September 5, 2014

What’s it all about?

A pair of identical twins and their identical twin servants are cruelly separated as children by a freak storm at sea; this was a constant watery thorn in the side of Shakespearean travellers, it would seem. Years later they all find themselves in the same city, wearing the same clothes – What do you mean ‘coincidence too far?’ This is Shakespeare – leading to much comic confusion.

Oh, and their estranged father has been sentenced to death. But they don’t know that and it’s not nearly as funny as the whole “I don’t know you” “Yes you do” malarkey, so we’ll gloss over it.

Who’s in it?

Matthew Needham and Jamie Wilkes are brilliant as the Ephesus-dwelling Antipholus and Dromio; Needham seasoning his near-constant consternation with a beautiful line in bemused eyes, Wilkes delivering a master class in clowning and physical comedy.

As cameos go, Stefan Adegbola’s Pinch, called upon to cure Antipholus’ madness, makes a striking impression, part Gandalf, part Timothy Claypole.

What should I look out for?

The physicality that director Blanche McIntyre has brought to her first Globe production. Her Comedy Of Errors is filled with fish-flinging, squid-slapping, nipple-crippling, People’s Elbow-delivering slapstick that is a joy to watch on a late summer evening. Make sure you get to your seats – or standing area – early as it kicks off even before the show proper begins.

Possibly the template for every “My wife/girlfriend/mother-in-law is so fat” joke ever delivered. Is it okay because it’s spoken by a Shakespearean character rather than a red-faced comic in a working man’s club? I’m not sure.

The nods to, or pinching from, Friends, Harry Potter and even Loony Tunes that add to the impressively controlled chaos.

In a nutshell?

More hilarious anarchy than you can shake a fish, cat or identity-confused servant at.

What’s being said on Twitter?

@Tarryn_Rich Comedy of Errors at @The_Globe was amazing yesterday! You know Shakespheare’s been done well when you can effortlessly understand it!

@OliverTilney Great time @The_Globe for The Comedy of Errors last night. Very funny. @jamwilkes playing like a seasoned pro! Well done all round.

Will I like it?

While the speed at which some cast members charge through their lines means some of the Bard’s linguistic wit may be lost thought the Globe’s open roof, McIntyre and fight director Kevin McCurdy have packed so much physical comedy into two and a quarter hours that this is probably one of London’s funniest evenings out.

The Comedy Of Errors is playing at Shakespeare’s Globe until 12 October. You can book tickets through the theatre’s website.