REVIEW: The Comedy Of Errors, Mercury Theatre Colchester ✭✭✭✭✭

Last Updated on 19th May 2022

Paul T Davies reviews The Comedy Of Errors staged at the Mercury Theatre Colchester to celebrate the theatre’s 50th Anniversary.

Comedy Of Errors review
Danielle Bird, Daniel Burke, Rosalind Ford, Lucy Keirl. Photo: Pamela Raith

The Comedy of Errors
Mercury Theatre, Colchester
18 May 2022
5 Stars
Book Tickets

At last. I don’t been anything derogatory about that statement, it’s just that this feels like the production we have been waiting for since the theatre re-opened. Celebrating the theatre’s 50th anniversary. It feels that the company have thrown off the duvet of the pandemic, and have faced the world with renewed vigour.  Shakespeare’s first comedy is transposed to the glitzy Hotel Ephesus, somewhere in central Europe in the 1920s. Taking influence from The Great Gatsby and The Grand Budapest Hotel, this sumptuous production does exactly what it says on the cocktail shaker.

Comedy Of Errors
Daniel Burke and Danielle Bird. Photo: Pamela Raith

The plot is simple and doesn’t warrant investigation- suffice to say it involves two sets of twins, one servant pair, one master, mistaken identity, bling, and that favourite Shakespeare standard, a shipwreck. The cast are superb. Firing on all cylinders, the engine room of the comedy, are the Dromio’s, played by real-life twins Danielle and Nichole Bird. Their slapstick skills, physicality and comedy timing are top-notch, there isn’t a moment on stage that isn’t infused with the utter joy of this pair. They are matched by Daniel Burke and Mike Slader as the “masters” Antipholus, their confusion clashing with their confident poshness is hilarious, and Jessica Dives, Rosalind Ford, Lucy Keirl and Michael Lambourne all multi-role with ease, skilfully swapping roles. Jessica Dives is also the musical director, and here is one triumph of the show. Stylishly vocalised by Aaliyah Zhane, making her professional debut, contemporary songs are given a 1920’s polish, and relevant to the plot and text, Crazy In Love was never more appropriate. If you like your Shakespeare cocktail with a healthy slug of Baz Lurhman, this is the show for you!

Mercury Theatre Colchester
The company of The Comedy Of Errors. Photo: Pamela Raith

Director Ryan McBryde is master of directing comedy, and his vision is brought to vivid life on James Button’s outstanding set and costume design. Yes, there are pantomime elements, the chase, (which includes a glorious silent movie sequence), does extend into the auditorium, and the entrance of Dr. Pinch is very genie-like! But I would argue that this is the production to take young people to as a first Shakespeare it is perfect for the family! And a big test is, among all the fast-paced farce, whether the moment when the twins finally see each other works. It does- it’s moving and beautifully poignant. By the time we get a Sister Act tribute I had already given my heart to the show. What a fitting production to mark 50 years of the Mercury, and the standing ovation at the end was the tribute to our wonderful theatre we were happy to five. Go see, it’s triumphant.


Mercury Theatre
Mike Slader, Nicole Bird and Michael Lambourne. Photo: Pamela Raith
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