Loads of wicked gags in this outdoors Shakespearean silliness

THEATRE

The Funny of Mistakes ★ ★ ★ ★
Royal Botanic Gardens till 19 February

The Australian Shakespeare Business has actually shrewdly picked the knockabout luxury of The Funny of Mistakes for this year’s very first golden pageant. This early Shakespeare funny, including 2 sets of twins and a series of screwball coincidences, is more than a little nasty in its grinningly violent way. It has none of the poetical gold or rhetorical

magic of Shakespeare’s more popular funnies however compensates with an including plot and a surfeit of wicked gags. It’s a story of relentless incorrect identity and an entire city turned topsy turvy, with everybody swallowed up by a worry that spirits– malign or simply naughty– are on the loose. And this robust however darkly unusual production, directed Glenn Elston, is as amusing and repulsive and gripping

as you might desire from Shakespeare in the park. It integrates the masked grotesquery of commedia dell arte with surrealist aspects, while maintaining the available humour common of Australian outdoor theatre. This is a farce with a modern-day horrible quality, loaded with miseries and confusions where everybody is busily abusing and attacking everybody else. However there’s likewise lots of amusing silliness. Why are Adriana and her sis on skates? And why are the 2 Antipholouses using flat mops? Whatever the factor for these and other novelties, the kids in the audience– and most likely the majority of the senior citizens, too– believed everything ridiculously funny. Syd Brisbane and Thomas Pidd resemble a set of haunted maniac dolls as the 2 Dromios, riding the madness and driving it onwards and upwards. The strong ensemble likewise includes Peter Houghton, Elizabeth Brennan, Madeleine Somers, Hugh Sexton, Anna Citizen, Kevin Hopkins, Dion Mills and Radical Newman. This is a great program that teaches us to make fun of problems and unpredictabilities. And to have faith that all will be well– however just after lots of scrapes and inconveniences. A cultural guide to heading out and caring your city.

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