Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 29, No. 3. 1966.
Comedy of Errors
Comedy of Errors
If One Were Forced to make a criticism of the New Zealand Theatre Centre's production of "Comedy of Errors," one might suggest that at times it was a trifle overflippant.
The Discovery of truth in error, the relationship of reality to artificial seeming is no less serious a business than the issues of this particular plot—the reunifying of a family, the re-establishing of conjugal bliss, the exposing of hypocricy and immorality.
But it is so difficult to remember exactly where the flippancy occurred that one might be inclined to put it down to occasional unsteadiness of tone, such as affected Aegeon (Peter Bland) in his lengthy speech early in the play.
For on the whole the production was immaculate. The mimes with their sinister figures frolicking in semi-darkness preserved exactly the blend of humour and Unpleasantness that was to be desired.
The courting of Luciana (Barbara Swing) by Antipholus of Syracuse (Lewis Fiander) was a moment of high seriousness and great beauty. The complicated Shakespearean jokes, the toppling piles of puns were swimmingly comprehensible and the farce was rich.
In spite of a complex plot and a large cast the production always demonstrated a fine control which never degenerated into restraint.
The acting was superb. Gesture and dumb show were perfectly timed and co-ordinated with the broad patterns of movement Lewis Fiander might have been a little less foolish, but his foolishness granted, his polish was incomparable.
Since it was impossible to distinguish one Dromio from the other, it was Impossible to say which was the better clown. Barbara Ewing was delightful as Luciana. and Barry Hodge (Adriana) was an admirably luxurious shrew.
Altogether, it was Shakespeare with a flourish in a comedy we do not often see. It provided an opportunity both for our actors to work with professionals from abroad in a production that was an accredited success, and for our audiences to take another hitch at their Shakespearean standards.