Review: The Comedy of Errors, Groundlings Theatre, Portsmouth

Joe Pasquale as Frank Spencer in Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em. Picture: Michael Wharley

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Carry On Shakespeare is how I’ve always thought of The Comedy of Errors, with everything from mistaken identity to passing wind through keyholes.

What’s not to love?

Shakespeare promises us comedy and Richard Stride’s high-energy, manic production for Groundlings Theatre Company pretty much lives up to that 400-year-old promise.

Stride’s cast of six play some 15 parts between them, the bulk of that multiplicity shared between Oliver Gyani and Stuart Frank.

Both Gyani and Frank, of all the cast, seem to have the greater measure of the language. That said, Emma Uden’s Luciana is a work of great beauty and the most nicely-studied creation on the stage.

Anna Mallard’s Adriana is a fizzing firework of a portrayal. Sometimes, just sometimes, it’s a little too much and could do with toning down.

The central characters, the two Dromios and the two Antipholuses, are played by Helen Oakleigh and Mark Flynn respectively. Oakleigh’s performance is hugely overstated – and that’s not a negative. Flynn seemed the least comfortable with the dialogue – but his charm carries him through.

There’s clever, inventive staging and audience participation, too. Best thing from Groundlings in a long time.