Saturday, February 13, 2021

A COMEDY OF TECHNICAL ERRORS (Shakespeare Institute Players)***


By Emma


Available until: Monday 16th February 6am (GMT)

A Comedy of Technical Errors is lots of fun and very clever. It isn’t a rewrite of The Comedy of Errors but a few characters do get mentioned. There also aren’t that many technical errors and when it does happen it’s part of the story, like when a character can’t get Zoom to work properly.

It starts off with two girls called Jen and Vicky presenting a news show and then the Prince (whose pronouns are ‘she/her’ and why not?) announces they’re going into lockdown. Over the rest of the show, we check on how various characters from Shakespeare are coping with the new normal. There are lots of references to Shakespeare plays and also to lots of the different things we’ve had to get used to in lockdown.

I think if you don’t know anything about Shakespeare you might still enjoy it because it’s funny but my favourite bits were the ones about the plays I know like The Merry Wives of Windsor. I loved hearing what Falstaff was getting up to. It’s just so Falstaff. Beatrice and Benedick from Much Ado About Nothing are really sweet and Antony and Cleopatra are behaving basically how you’d expect them to.

But I don’t know Henry V that well, I actually didn’t know it was Henry V, I just knew it was Hal and Katherine. But they have a really lovely long distance text relationship and I enjoyed that a lot so you probably don’t need to know all the plays. But it does help.

The things the characters do sometimes follow what happens in the play and sometimes they don’t but mostly I think there is some sort of reference being made to the play or the characters. Like Malvolio would never really do a podcast because they didn’t exist in Shakespeare’s time but when you hear him doing it he is being very Malvolio about it.

So in this play you get to find out who is ignoring lockdown and operating under the Rule of Sixty, who is considering doing Movember, who really struggles with their Zoom date, and what percentage of Instagram followers think the iambic pentameter is cool.

Writers Lori Shaneback, Allison Acuff, Bethany Gaunt, Elizabeth Peterson and Nick Nicolaidis have written a very funny script. Director Micaela Kluver has allowed her cast to do complicated things with props, it looks like her main focus has been on making sure the characters are really strong and that they work with the script of this play and that they are as similar as possible to the characters they are based on. Props are great but it’s the acting that really makes this good.

There are lots of actors playing multiple roles and performances to look out for include Anthony Church’s very serious Antony, Chantelle Reider’s very chilled Juliet, Elizabeth Peterson’s adorable Katherine, George King showing off his geek credentials in more than one role, Kat Twigg’s magnificent Cleopatra, Kirsty Emmerson’s amazingly patient Dogberry. Jen Waghorn and Vicky Jackson make great hosts and this is a fun play.

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