Thursday, November 22, 2007

Real Comedy

Tonight, Clare and I went to watch the Royal Shakespeare Company perform 'A Comedy of Errors' at the New Theatre. The production was hilariously funny, fast moving, and very physical. The 'commedia dell'arte' influences were strong. It was presented more like adult pantomime than classical theatre. I was amazed at how the use of movement really helped make sense of the text.

We were also treated to a couple of North Country accents, a strong Italian accent and a right-on Jamaican yardie accent from various characters, alongside the expected Received Pronunciation Shakesperian Delivery of the rest of the cast. All this made the point that the characters portrayed were themselves a multi-cultural bunch, and the speeches lost nothing. If anything this device made one pay more attention. The youngsters in the audience, including primary age children clearly loved it.
I have no doubt the Bard would have approved with this vigorous, engaging, entertaining interpretation of his work.

A dozen of the cast stayed behind afterwards for a Q&A session with members of the audience. Although I was tiring by this stage, it proved a very worthwhile half hour, encountering the personalities behind the
personae of the actors. We've spent so much time at the opera since we've been back in Cardiff that theatre visits have become quite rare for us. If there are productions of this quality around these days, we should change out habits and get out more.

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