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The Comedy of Errors

The Comedy of Errors

London, .
The Shakespearean farce about double twin confusion comes to the Barbican fresh from Stratford
Tickets from £23
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About The Comedy of Errors

Shakespeare’s ever popular fairy-tale farce of everyday miracles, mistaken identity and double vision, directed by comedy master Phillip Breen.

A father ends up in the wrong country on the wrong day as a government makes hasty proclamations about travel. A lonely son, while searching for his brother, loses himself. Across town a wife starts to realise her husband is not the man she thought he was (but rather likes it). Will anything ever be the same again?

Directed by Phillip Breen (The Provoked Wife 2019, The Hypocrite 2017), the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of The Comedy of Errors transfers to the Barbican for 6 weeks only following its summer season in Stratford-upon-Avon. Join us for this joyous moment of reunion, celebration, and laughter.

Running time 2 Hours 20 Minutes (inc. Interval)

Tell Me More

A shipwreck, a divided family, and the hilarious mistaken identity farce that comes with not just one but two sets of identical twins. Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors is one of his funniest plays, with non-stop action and breathless hijinks, and the Royal Shakespeare Company’s revival is now coming to London’s Barbican Theatre. You can join the fun by booking your The Comedy of Errors tickets now.

One of the Bard’s earlier works, The Comedy of Errors play takes its basic plot from Plautus’s Menaechmi and Apollonius of Tyre. It takes place in Greece, with a merchant, Egeon, relaying his tragic story: during a terrible shipwreck, he was separated from his wife, and each of them wound up with one of their identical twin sons (both named Antipholus) and one of the boys’ twin servants (both called Dromio). A family reunion is on the horizon, but not before the advent of the twins causes maximum confusion for everyone, including Antipholus’s wife Adriana and her sister Luciana.

Director Phillip Breen relishes every single opportunity for comic chaos here, and his revival for the RSC was a big hit in Stratford-upon-Avon, the Bard’s birthplace. Now, it’s transferring to London, and The Comedy of Errors Barbican production will run in town for a limited engagement.

The full cast is playing this encore run, led by Jonathan Broadbent, Greg Haiste, Guy Lewis, Rowan Polonski, Hedydd Dylan and Avita Jay. The Comedy of Errors London production will also feature vivid 1980s design from Max Jones, as well as featuring Paddy Cunneen’s arresting score.

Although this is first and foremost a riotous night out, the play’s depiction of family separation and loss has particular resonance in Covid times. So, make sure you catch this funny and poignant show. Book your The Comedy of Errors tickets now.

What to Watch For

  • Shakespeare’s early comedy contains lots of the tropes that he developed in his later plays, too. The twins separated by a shipwreck? You’ll find that in Twelfth Night. The magical family reunion might also remind you of The Winter’s Tale, and the talk of madness crops up in several plays, such as King Lear.
  • The farcical plot has proved hugely popular, and The Comedy of Errors has been adapted numerous times - including by the Flying Karamazov Brothers in the 1980s and by several opera composers. It’s also become a musical, or rather musicals plural: Trevor Nunn created one for the RSC with Guy Woolfenden in 1976, and Rodgers and Hart gave us The Boys from Syracuse in 1938.
  • Director Phillip Breen is no stranger to the RSC, nor to period farce. He previously directed the RSC’s 2019 production of the restoration comedy play The Provoked Wife, starring Caroline Quentin as Lady Fancyfull and Rufus Hound as Constant.
  • It’s back to the 1980s for Breen’s production, with period touches like power dressing, leg warmers, the beginning of the yoga craze, an old-school comedy club - and, more seriously, an indictment of that era’s worship of consumerism.
  • The Middle Eastern setting also brings up ideas of refugees and a different justice system, which continue to resonate today, supporting the play’s exploration of what it means to belong, the perils of travel (with a wink at our current traffic light system too), and a clash of cultures.
Start date

November 16th, 2021

End date

December 30th, 2021

Venue

Barbican Theatre

Tickets from £23
Prices you'll brag about

We're your one-stop shop for everything theatre. We work with theatre partners from around the world to bring you unbeatable prices for must-see shows.

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