Wednesday, November 30, 2011

'The Comedy of Errors' at the National

The new National Theatre production of The Comedy of Errors has just opened in London, featuring Lenny Henry as Antipholus of Syracuse. Since we've only just finished our own production, it's particularly interesting to read the reviews which have started coming in, and indeed we hope to see it via National Live on March 1st. Click on the publications' names below to see the full review.
  • Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail calls it 'sublime' and 'wall to wall joy'.
  • Michael Billington in the Guardian found it 'slightly strenuous fun' until the final Act when it achieved 'a magical simplicity that induces a sense of awe and wonder.'
  • Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph wrote that it was a 'savvy fast-moving modern-dress production - set in a recession-ravaged city of crumbling buildings, lippy prostitutes, mad shrinks, sinister heavies and a wandering street band who sing British pop hits in Romanian.'
  • In the Independent, Paul Taylor wrote that Lenny Henry is 'part of a fine ensemble that work hard to animate an over-cluttered concept and eventually drive the proceedings to a pleasing crescendo of comic mayhem.'
  • Sam Marlowe in The Arts Desk, echoing Michael Billington, felt that 'the final scene, with its unravelling and reunions, has real emotional heft. This is comedy with bite, all the better for the touch of the maniacal that tinges its laughter'.
  • Cordelia Lynn in The Harker called the evening 'a breath of fresh air' adding 'when the lights went down on the first act I didn’t want it to end, and that’s not something that happens every Shakespeare.
  • Rachel Cooke on BBC Radio 4's Front Row went with low expectations, but 'Blow me down ... this is the certainly the best-directed performance of this I've ever seen, it's really funny, teeming with life.' The actors 'made the language live'.
  • Susannah Clapp in the Observer felt that "The invention is tremendous but too reliant on gizmos, business and big mechanisms."

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