June 3, 2011

Propeller's THE COMEDY OF ERRORS and RICHARD III: Audience Comments

Dugald Bruce-Lockhart and Richard Frame in

The Comedy of Errors. Photo: Manuel Harlan
Have you seen Propeller's The Comedy of Errors or Richard III?


How did it differ from other productions of Shakespeare's plays you've seen? Other productions of Comedy or Richard?

Did you attend a post show conversation? What comments surprised you or made you think differently about the play? Would you attend a post show conversation again? What were you thinking about on the way home from the theatre?

Have you seen both shows? If so, how was your experience impacted or enhanced by doing so?

Jon Trenchard in Richard III. Photo: Manuel Harlan
(Don't miss the experience of seeing both, by the way. In this writer's opinion, you'll more fully appreciate the actors' depth and range of talent and find interesting connections between the two plays.) 

Leave your comments here.


The Huntington Theatre Company's presentation of Propeller Theatre Company's The Comedy of Errors and Richard III plays now through June 19, 2011 only at the B.U. Theatre. Get tickets and information or call our Box Office at 617 266-0800.

19 comments:

Lizette said...

I was floored by Propeller's Richard III and Comedy of Errors. The strength, stamina and range of the ensemble was truly spectacular and I'd love to see more programming like it in the future. Many thanks to the Huntington for bringing this amazing company to Boston!

Hope in Boston from ArtsBoston.org said...

I stumbled into this production as a Huntington subscriber, and was blown away. This high-energy Comedy of Errors by the all-male British Shakespeare company Propeller was completely original and highly entertaining from start to finish. Almost every word of the play was there, plus musical touches and audience participation. I got home and e-mailed all my Shakespeare-reading friends to go, quick. But this production, like the ART's recent Shakespeare versions, will entrance 20-somethings too.

Sarah Clark said...

I enjoyed Comedy of Errors except for the men playing women. The campiness of their acting turned the women into caricatures. Having seen the BBC's version and the Royal Shakespeare's 1970's version in both of which the women's roles were played to great effect by women, this production was disappointing. Also I had been interested in seeing how convincing the men could be as women as I would assume they were in Shakespeare's day. He didn't write cartoon women, he wrote real women. There was a glimpse of this in the actor who played the sister, but it was obscured by her/his clownish costume. However, I did enjoy the high energy and inventiveness of much of the production

Anonymous said...

Richard III took a syncophantic work
and turned it into an amazingly
sympathetic and powerful production!
BRAVO!!!

Jim Kreidler said...

I've seen and thoroughly enjoyed both Comedy of Errors and Richard III. In the post-show conversations, no comment was made about why these two plays are traveling together. I didn't think of the question until afterward. Juxtaposition of farce and tragdey, however wry? Some subtle twist in Richard III on the mistaken identity theme in CoE? Maybe just random. No matter, both are great. Go see them!

The Huntington Theatre Company said...

The juxtaposition of "The Comedy of Errors" and "Richard III" is indeed a very interesting topic. Co-adaptor Roger Warren wrote about the choice of presenting these Shakespeare plays together in rep in this article which first appeared in the Huntington's Spotlight and is now on our website:

http://www.huntingtontheatre.org/season/1011/propeller/roger-warren.aspx

Anonymous said...

I felt that the acting in the Richard 111 was excellent but I did not like the production. If the aim of the director was to convey the base values of the aristocracy of the time he succeeded brilliantly. But the production was too sick for my tastes. A perfect nightmare. But I don't care for Picasso either.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was one of the worst plays I've ever seen. I couldn't stay for the second act -- it was that bad.

I love Shakespeare and I love the theatre. I don't consider myself old fashioned (and I'm a "young" Huntington subscriber), but this was just beyond my tolerance level. Richard III is a wonderful play, but this production was gratuitous.

Anonymous said...

I had seen "Rose Rage" in London some years ago so I ran to the Huntington when I heard the Propeller Company was here. They did not disappoint. These are programs one gets on a plane to see and to think they are right here in Boston. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE have them back and more programs like it in the future. Just loved every inventive minute of both productions. I can't say enough about them.

Anonymous said...

I have seen Comedy at least 20 times and attended w/ college theater professor who has put it on a dozen times. We left at intermission, considering it the #1 all time bad performance of this delightful play.

Anonymous said...

my friend and I thought that Richard lll was so terrible that we left before the intermission. We both found it very hard to comprehend what was happening. Couldn't follow the dialogue.

Stewart said...

I am surprised at some of the negative comments here. My wife and I both thought that this production was the best Shakespeare we have seen outside of London. I left the theater thinking about the bloody wars that led to present day England and the way they relate to our present time with the current bloody wars. These thoughts remained with me for several days.

Polli said...

Richard III is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays. The Propeller Company did not respect the play. Some of the greatest scenes (like the famous one between Richard and Anne) failed because Richard just ranted instead of acted. Richard should be complicated, not merely evil. That made Anne's submission non- credible. Hoping Propeller does better with Comedy of Errors. I saw their Twelfth Night in London and loved it.

Anonymous said...

Am a subscriber- am never disappointed- Richard III was brilliant- fabulous staging, acting and delivery- bravo!! If you missed this production -you have 3 days left- still time to see this -don't miss it!

Anonymous said...

Ugh, saw this production last night and our foursome was all in agreement that it was one of the worst we've ever seen. We couldn't wait to leave the theater at intermission. We're Huntington subscribers, theatre lovers and supporters, Shakespeare fans -- this was a terrible choice.

Anonymous said...

Saw Propeller's Comedy of Errors today with my husband. Imagine Benny Hill does Shakespeare. Very, very funny! Well done.

Anonymous said...

The best Shakespeare I have seen in my life. I am old and have seen a lot.
The acting was immediate-so 'in the moment'. It was as if there were possibilities of other outcomes. Fun, exciting, extravagant. The burlesque and 'pantomime' elements of Comedy of Errors was a brilliant decision.
Richard 3 took me aback-this interpretation was intelligent, haunting, visually stunning.
Please bring the company back next season.

Tom Hinkle said...

I greatly enjoyed Comedy of Errors. I understand the commenter who said drag turned the women into caricatures, but I don't actually think anyone in this play rises to the level of being a real character. The play is about situations and types, not about character studies. I found the frenetic energy of the production and the campy aesthetic engaging and true to the play's farcical origins.

With Richard, I think they also chose to value the situation and aesthetics over character. I understand Richard can be done as a more complex character (or at least his "acting" when he is not in monologue can seem less transparent), but I think most of the drama of the play comes from him being simply evil. It's not insane to read this play and think that Richard is simply a psychopath, and that's what happened here. Grotesque? Yes. True to the spirit of the original? Quite possibly.

All told, I enjoyed the play. I brought students to see both of these productions and I can guarantee you they were never bored and there was plenty to talk about. The energy of the company was inspiring.

Anonymous said...

What a show in Verona, positively Pythonesque! I hate Shakespeare and was dragged along only interested in soaking in the actual Roman Theatre. But to my surprise it was refreshingly unreal. Music was incredible, sound effects so cool ! Both Dromio's and the two sisters were hilarious, the "frozen in time" scene was sidesplittingly funny, the Doc was off the wall. Thank you for bringing a much needed dose of English humour to Italy, I miss it, Italians just can't do it. All the best from a very impressed Irishman and to think you guys were just there. Hope you come back next year. And to think in Roman times, you guys would have been officially lower class along with Prostitues and Gladiators!