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in Northampton since 1932

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The Comedy of Errors
by William Shakespeare

Cast & Crew

Antipholus of Syracuse Michael Street
Antipholus of Epheseus
Robin Armstrong
Dromio of Syracuse
Barry Dougall
Dromio of Epheseus
Mark Mortimer
Gemma Knight
Emily Bale
Mark Farey
Owen Warr
Barry L Hillman
Claire Tong
Jan Stoppani
First Merchant Rob Kendall
Second Merchant Duncan Morrison
Suzanne Richards
Dr Pinch
Tony Janney
Rob Kendall
An Officer
Jonathan Whalley
Second Courtesan
Ingrid Heymann
Ingrid Heymann
Wandering Minstral
Matthew Churcher

Director Mark Mortimer
Assistant Director
Clare Brittain
Stage Manager Bernadette Wood
Assistant Stage Manager Clare Brittain
The Works, Masque Theatre
Specific Costumes
Pam Mann, Dorothy Grainger
Wardrobe Care
Clare Brittain
Clare Brittain
Ian Spiby
Sound & Lighting Design
Richard Walker, The Works
Set Design
Mark Mortimer
Set Construction
Mark Mortimer, Derek Banyard, Masque Theatre members
Poster design
Rebecca Thorndale
Publicity & Photos
Ian Clarke
Martin Borley-Cox
Front of House
Masque Theatre members
Programme Sellers
Masque Youth Theatre members

Barry Dougall as Dromio of Syracuse, Mark Mortimer as Dromio of Epheseus and Robin Armstrong as Antipholus of Epheseus. Photo by Ian Clarke

Production No. 373

More images from The Comedy of Errors


Mark Mortimer & Clare Brittain, directors

The Comedy Of Errors is an early play; the plot was probably influenced by the young Shakespeare reading some of the ancient Roman plays of Plautus in the library at Stratford Grammar School. People who have seen the musical A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum will notice several similarities as this is also based on Plautus.

Two sets of twins, whilst babies, are separated during a shipwreck. Egeon (Owen Warr) saves his son Antipholus of Syracuse (Mike Street) and his slave Dromio of Epeseus (Barry Dougall) but is separated from the twins’ mother Aemilia (Jan Stoppani) and his other son, also Antipholus (newcomer Robin Armstrong), and his slave, also called Dromio (Mark Mortimer) who is twin to the other slave.

When Egeon, Antipholus of Syracuse and Dromio of Syracuse arrive in Epheseus, it causes all manner of confusion as the other two twins live there.

The firm but fair Duke Solinus is played by Mark Farey (last seen in Masque’s production of Dying for It), Antipholus of Epheseus's 'drama queen of a wife' Adriana is Masque regular Gemma Knight (also in Dying For It) and her younger, more sensible sister Luciana is played by Emily Bale (from last summer’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream).

Assorted characters in Epheseus will be brought to life by 'the usual suspects': Barry Hillman as Angelo, Rob Kendall as Baltazar, Tony Janney as Dr Pinch and Duncan Morrison as Second Merchant. Glamour will be provided by newcomer Clare Tong as the Courtesan. Suzanne Richards will be 'fattened up’  to  play the rotund object of Dromio of Epheseus’s desire and Ingrid Heyman will be representing the ‘rest of the population’. Newcomer Johnathan Whalley will be playing the Officer.

Stage Management will be in the capable hands of Bernie Wood and Ian Spiby will be on the book.  Costumes will be Jacobean-style (hopefully if we wear this sort of outfit we will be blessed with a Mediterranean climate) and will be put together by Clare Brittain; several new outfits will be made by Pam Mann and Dorothy Granger.

26 - 31 July 2010 at 7.30pm
In the open air in the Courtyard, Abington Park Museum, Northampton

Page last updated: 15/04/2012 Masque Theatre © 2012

by Martin Borley-Cox

Academics may disagree, but The Comedy of Errors is not great literature. Shock!  Horror!  Am I allowed to say such a things about a Shakespeare play?!  What it IS is slapstick and a farce.

The plot (like so many of Shakespeare’s comedies) is ludicrous and the characters are pure pantomime.  But that doesn’t matter a jot.

The Comedy of Errors is meant to entertain, pure and simple.  And that’s what Mark Mortimer and Clare Brittain’s production did.

Any pretensions or reverence of the text were forgotten or ignored.  Instead we had a madcap story of two sets of twins with the same names, and lots of misunderstandings.

Michael Street and Robin Armstrong were both Antipholus (of Syracuse and Epheseus respectively) and Barry Dougall and Mark Mortimer were both Dromio (of Syracuse and Epheseus).

It doesn’t really matter if the twins look alike or not because you only have to suggest the similarities with the costumes and the audience gets the joke.  But Mike and Robin and especially Barry and Mark were alarmingly alike.   The Dromios were suitably clownish; their masters were more serious and, well, masterly.

All the cast seemed to be having as much fun as the audience, which is always a good sign.

Once the early long speeches were out of the way, the story raced through with plenty of energy.  I was never tempted to glance at my watch (own up, we’ve all endured productions when we’ve done that.) This is Shakespeare’s shortest play, which also helped.

The set was rough and ready and some of the costumes were suitably outrageous (yes, Suzanne Richards, that was you as Luce!).

It’s surprising that this was just the third time Masque has performed The Comedy of Errors in its 78-year life.  The last occasion was in 1977 and before that it was 1940;  I hope  we don’t have to wait another 33 years.

It was a fun evening out, and the audience seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves.

A scene from The Comedy of Errors