We don’t tend to do too much on impulse but I saw a tweet praising Red Rose Chain’s Theatre in The Forest the other day and went straight online, checked the weather forecast and booked tickets for Shakespeare’s The Comedy Of Errors. And less than forty-eight hours later we were at Jimmy’s Farm just outside Ipswich enjoying a lovely pre-theatre dinner before heading into the woods for the al fresco play.
What a delight it was to see Shakespeare staged in such an authentic way. With the action set in a Cuban bar and a musical score that included Rock The Boat, We Are Family and Latino dance numbers you may question that last statement but, with plenty of crowd interaction, cast members taking on more than one role, girls as men and men as girls this was Shakespeare as the Bard intended.
I’ve often been to a Shakespeare “comedy” and questioned the validity of that word but Red Rose Chain made The Comedy Of Errors exactly what it said on the tin. There was no questioning the comedy classification this time with the audience regularly in fits of laughter as the cast threw everything into the production presenting us with slapstick and farce as well as making Shakespeare’s jokes, for once, funny.
I won’t single out any of the cast, as all were outstanding. The words were delivered clearly and, despite an extremely convoluted plot about twins, it was extremely easy to understand and to enjoy everything that was going on.
We’ve seen scores of Shakespeare plays in the last fifty years. Many of these were at the RSC but I can honestly say that few equalled this performance for entertainment value. Five stars for a super evening. It’s on for a few weeks, book your tickets now.