For this week's Throwback Thursday we go back to 2000 when David Tennant took on the role of Antipholus of Syracuse in Lynne Parker's production of The Comedy of Errors for the Royal Shakespeare Company.
The Comedy Of Errors
Ephesus and Syracuse are at odds. Any Syracusan found in Ephesus will be executed unless he can pay a ransom of a thousand marks. Egeon, an old Syracusan merchant, has been arrested. He explains how he has come to Ephesus: he and his wife Emilia had identical twin sons and identical twin slaves, purchased for the purpose of serving the sons. In a shipwreck many years ago, he was separated from his wife, one son and one slave. The survivors are renamed in memory of the lost ones: Antipholus for the son and Dromio for the slave. Once grown to manhood, Antipholus of Syracuse, with his Dromio, had set off in search of his brother and mother. Egeon is now in search of them. The Duke gives him until evening to find the ransom money. By chance Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse have also just arrived in Ephesus. The other Antipholus and Dromio have been living there since the wreck. And so the comedy of errors ensues. The locals constantly mistake the visiting twins for the natives – even Antipholus of Ephesus' wife Adriana and her sister Luciana are fooled. The confusions result in Antipholus of Ephesus being arrested for debt and declared mad, while Antipholus of Syracuse take refuge from his brother's angry wife in a Priory – where the abbess turns out to be Egeon's long-lost wife. All is resolved and Egeon is freed.
The RSC say about the 2000 production:
High energy and an endless sequence of gags characterised this production. The plot unfolded clearly enough despite the potentially distracting profusion of comic business, references to music-hall jokes and allusions to slapstick movies. One riotous chase managed to collect characters from the production of Henry IV Part I, playing in the Swan Theatre on the other side of the stage wall! Dr Pinch was a voodoo witch-doctor and one of the merchants was a sabre-waving Cossack.