6.9/10
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10 user

The Comedy of Errors (1983)

Aegeon of Syracuse has come to Ephesus to seek his son, who went in search of his missing twin and mother months ago. Unfortunately, Ephesus has just declared war on Syracuse, and will ... See full summary »

Director:

James Cellan Jones

Writer:

William Shakespeare (play)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Cyril Cusack ... Aegeon
Charles Gray ... Solinus, Duke of Ephesus
Nicolas Chagrin Nicolas Chagrin ... Master of the Mime
Nick Burnell Nick Burnell ... Mime Troupe Member
Graham Christopher Graham Christopher ... Mime Troupe Member
Ross Davidson Ross Davidson ... Mime Troupe Member
Howard Lee Howard Lee ... Mime Troupe Member
Daniel Rovai ... Mime Troupe Member
Paul Springer Paul Springer ... Mime Troupe Member
Jenny Weston Jenny Weston ... Mime Troupe Member
Bunny Reed Bunny Reed ... Gaoler
Michael Kitchen ... Antipholus of Ephesus / Antipholus of Syracuse
Roger Daltrey ... Dromio of Ephesus / Dromio of Syracuse
Noel Johnson Noel Johnson ... First Merchant
Suzanne Bertish ... Adriana
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Storyline

Aegeon of Syracuse has come to Ephesus to seek his son, who went in search of his missing twin and mother months ago. Unfortunately, Ephesus has just declared war on Syracuse, and will instantly put to death any Syracusean found within their borders unless a ransom's paid. Meanwhile, the son, Antipholus, and his servant, Dromio (also an identical twin), keep running into strangers who seem to know them... Written by Kathy Li

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Genres:

Comedy

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

This production used editing and special effects to have each set of twins played by the same actors. However, this was not especially well received by critics, who argued that not only was it confusing for the audience as to which character was which, but much of the comedy was lost when the characters look identical. See more »

Connections

Version of Angoor (1982) See more »

User Reviews

 
Comedy by error
7 June 2019 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

'The Comedy of Errors' is one of William Shakespeare's, one of the most quintessential playwrights, earliest plays and his shortest. Do not think it is one of his best plays, from personal opinion it's not even among my favourites of his comedies. As cliched as this sounds, even when Shakespeare was not at his best though he is still worth reading and analysing/studying, also got a lot of pleasure (one of the few people in my class who did) reading it out loud when reading it as a class in school. 'The Comedy of Errors' is no exception.

1983's production of 'The Comedy of Errors' as part of the inconsistent but fascinating and must-watch BBC Television Shakespeare series, ranging from 1978 to 1985, is neither among the best or worst of that series. In ranking, would put it somewhere in the solid middle. In that it is a well above average and even quite good production, but not a great one. It is mainly worth watching if trying to see as many productions of 'The Comedy of Errors' possible and to see all the BBC Television Shakespeare productions, to see performances of all of Shakespeare's plays (yes even the rarely done ones) that may be low budget but are mostly faithful and have talented casts. Those that like Cyril Cusack, Michael Kitchen, Charles Gray, Wendy Hiller et al. should find much to like about this production as well.

It is not a perfect production, and some of it is to do with the staging. It is stagy at times, there is some very distracting stage business bordering on overdone mugging (i.e. the mime) that was not needed and the beginning goes on for rather too long. Most of the very brave use of split screen is done surprisingly well, but there were points where it wasn't so seamless and was obvious, especially near the end.

Really wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, but couldn't help worrying that Roger Daltrey would be a disaster being somebody who didn't care for him in 'Tommy' and that he was swamped by everybody else. His role there and his dual/identical role in a Shakespeare comedy are so far apart and the former should have been more in his comfort zone. Actually he was a little better and not quite as out of place as expected as he does give his all, but he overdoes it and never really fully settled in the roles.

Everybody else fared well to brilliantly. Michael Kitchen is in the other dual/identical role and is much better, much more comfortable, he neither goes overboard or plays it too seriously, he is much less obvious and the roles fit him like a glove. He and Daltrey had the most difficult roles, but dual/identical roles can be done well and has proven to be (a big prime example being 'Dead Ringers', have been mentioning this film a lot recently but for good reason) and he does very well done. That said, there are better performances in the cast. Suzanne Bertish's Adriana is suitably feisty and Cusack, Gray and Hiller can be relied upon to give good performances and do and more. For me, the best performance comes from Cusack with Gray a very close second.

It's a good looking production on the whole. It's not high budget and not on location but does well considering the limitations. The sets are far from dreary or tack and there is more of a sense of time and place and authenticity than other productions of the series. The split screen is patchy but mostly not amateurish, while the production is nicely scored, it sounds appealing and it fits at least. The staging has its flaws, but has enough fun and absorbing moments and doesn't leave one in a muddle. It's a long way from being just under two hours of torture.

On the whole, quite good though with room for improvement. 7/10


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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 December 1983 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Complete Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare: The Comedy of Errors See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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