Review: The Comedy Of Errors, The HandleBards, Crook Hall and Gardens, Durham

SIDE-SPLITTING SHOW ... The HandleBards gave a hilarious performance of The Comedy Of Errors.

SIDE-SPLITTING SHOW ... The HandleBards gave a hilarious performance of The Comedy Of Errors.

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THE HandleBards gave another spectacular performance on their second night in Durham’s picturesque Crook Hall.

The four-strong cycling Shakespeare troupe made a pit-stop at the site to perform Macbeth on Sunday, and returned last night with The Comedy Of Errors.

The guys - Callum Brodie, Callum Cheatle, Tom Dixon and Paul Moss - are currently about half way through their 2,000 mile journey across the country and it truly was an honour to see them as they passed by.

They gave a chaotically hilarious performance of the Shakespearean comedy which focuses on two sets of twins separated by a shipwreck.

Antipholus of Syracuse and his slave Dromio arrive in Ephesus, where Antipholus’ missing twin, known as Antipholus of Ephesus is a prosperous citizen.

What follows is a side-splitting sequence of events which sees each Antipholus mistaken for the other and run into each other’s Dromios.

It sounds utterly confusing, but even with just four actors, The HandleBards made the story simple to follow.

Playing multiple roles could have proven tricky when one HandleBard was supposed to be on stage as two characters at the same time, but this was overcome with the clever use of plates, tennis and badminton rackets, quick costume changes, and a lot of running around.

The actors also enlisted the help of audience members who took to the stage to fill the gaps.

The HandleBards are extremely inventive with their costumes and props - made of whatever they can carry with them - and the shows are really unique.

Seeing them is an experience like no other and I loved every minute of both their shows.

As they cycle off towards Scotland, I can only hope they come back for another string of performances next year.

For more information about The HandleBards and future performances, go to their website.

Twitter: @ShieldsGazVicki