Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Which Twin Wins the Tony?

"The Comedy of Errors" marks the 30th film I've seen in the BBC Shakespeare series. I enjoyed it a lot, thanks primarily to the excellent comic performances of Michael Kitchen and Suzanne Bertish. Roger Daltrey was also enjoyable, although I felt he was at times a bit less assured than his fellow actors.

Kitchen and Daltrey both did well in differentiating their two roles, as the two Antipholi and Dromios respectively. Of course when casting these parts, you try to find actors who look as much alike as possible. But for a film or video version, casting the same actor as both of twins creates rather the opposite challenge: How can the audience know which twin they're looking at at any given time? Kitchen alternated between easygoing and stern, while Daltrey worked the silly/serious angle, making sure the audience stayed clearheaded while the play's characters were in a perpetual state of confusion.

I was in "The Boys From Syracuse" many years ago, playing Antipholus of Syracuse, and our production of the musical adaptation was certainly more "slapstick-y" than this BBC offering. I did think director James Cellan Jones could have picked up the pace a bit. Things really bogged down when Wendy Hiller's Aemilia came on the scene at the end; a bit of comic eccentricity would have livened up her role.

Still, one of the more enjoyable offerings of late!

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