THE COMEDY OF ERRORS

Director: Ben Humphrey
Producer: Chris Jaeger and Worcester Live
Choreography: Helen Leek
Costumer Design & Wardrobe: Isabelle Hunter

Egeon, a merchant of Syracuse, stands trial for landing in Ephesus, where Syracusians are banned due to recent conflicts between the two cities. He explains how 23 years ago, he lost his wife and one of their identical twin sons in a storm at sea, along with the boy’s servant companion, also an identical twin boy. Egeon had brought up the surviving son and servant, (who, to add to later confusions, were re-named in memory of their lost twins), but at eighteen they had gone in search of their lost brothers, and Egeon has now arrived in Ephesus in the hope of finding news of them. The Duke, Solinus, is sympathetic and gives Egeon one day in which to raise the thousand-mark ransom necessary to save his life before the death penalty must be carried out.

Meanwhile, unbeknown to Egeon, his son Antipholus of Syracuse and Antipholus’s servant companion, Dromio, have also arrived in Ephesus and are exploring the town, disguised as locals, unaware that their twin brothers have been living here after being rescued from the storm by fishermen who brought them up in Corinth. Adriana, Antipholus of Ephesus’s wife, mistakes Antipholus of Syracuse for her husband and drags him home for dinner, leaving Dromio of Syracuse to guard the door and admit no one. Shortly after, Antipholus of Ephesus returns home to find himself refused entry, leading him to resort to the home of a courtesan, while his twin brother, Antipholus of Syracuse, dines with Adriana and at the same time falls in love with her sister, Luciana.

The mayhem escalates when a gold chain commissioned by Antipholus of Ephesus for Adriana is wrongly delivered to Antipholus of Syracuse, and an agreement is made for the merchant to return later for payment. Angelo later meets Antipholus of Ephesus and asks him for the money; this Antipholus, of course, denies ever having received the chain and refuses to pay, leading to the arrest of both him and his Dromio. The protestations caused by this catalogue of confusions cause Adriana to fear for the sanity of both her husband and his servant, and she summons a doctor to exorcise the madness from them. While they are under restraint, their Syracusian brothers, who are trying to flee Ephesus for they now fear it to be enchanted, cause panic in the town by appearing with drawn swords after being accused of taking a ring from the courtesan. They take refuge in a priory where the abbess refuses to allow Adriana access to her husband. Adriana begs for help from the Duke, who is nearby for the execution of Egeon.

The Ephesian twins, having escaped, also arrive to claim justice and Egeon recognises them as, he thinks, the boys he brought up in Syracuse. Solinus sends for the Abbess who appears with the second pair of twins, much to everyone’s amazement. She further astounds everyone by recognising Egeon; she is Aemilia, his long-lost wife who, surviving the storm and fearing all her family to be dead, had entered a religious order.

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When all have told their stories Antipholus of Syracuse renews his suit to Luciana, the Duke pardons Egeon who is reunited with his wife, Antipholus of Ephesus and Adriana are reconciled, and everyone goes to celebrate the reunions, with the two Dromios bringing the action to a close with a happy embrace.

CAST

Jonathan Darby : Egeon, a merchant of Syracuse / Doctor Pinch

Phil Leach : Solinus, Duke of Ephesus / Balthazar

Ru Gilfillan : Officer / Servant

Sam Patrick : Antipholus of Syracuse

Rob Leetham : Dromio of Syracuse

Ieuan Dolloway : Merchant

Wilf Williams : Dromio of Ephesus

Rhîan McLean: Adriana, wife of Antipholus of Ephesus

Gemma Martyn Smith: Luciana, Adriana’s sister

Jamie Kwasnik : Antipholus of Ephesus

Ben Humphrey : A Courtesan

Edward Manning : Abbess, Aemelia, wife of Egeon