Bard in the Valley productions getting better each season

Editor: These annual productions get better and better – if that is possible.

If you haven’t seen it yet, then I can assure you The Comedy of Errors is a treat.

And it’s free. I saw the matinee last Sunday at the open air theatre, downtown Langley.

There was no gabbling of lines — often a fault in amateur productions. The characters seemed to understand what they were saying. By that I mean that too often, because Shakespeare’s language has a different cadence to today’s speech, the character’s delivery sounds false and awkward. These actors spoke their lines with such confidence and deep understanding that even a newcomer to Shakespeare’s rhythm would be able keep up with the play by skimming along with the flow.

Who cares if some of the humor was lost to today’s audience? The action and the gestures of the actors smoothly drove the performance forward.

The characters’ delivery was exemplary for the most part.

Even the set movers had spunk and gave a lighthearted touch to what can easily be a dull scene change.

I suggest, the servants were the mainstay of the production. Playing a clown is the hardest part. Both these young men developed their roles so that not only did they match each other’s behaviour as identical twins but also curtailed the “slapstick” element sufficiently to bring into balance the pathos of a maligned servant of those days. The two main character brothers were masterly — authoritarian and certainly appropriately undemocratic in their use of their servants.

The father pleading his cause to the duchess poignantly provoked a parent’s dilemma given the political times in which the scene was set.

Nevertheless, it was a pity that the duchess was insufficiently forthright to indicate the wisdom of her judicial clemency. Similarly the abbess, being as she was head of a religious order, was a little too gentle in her delivery to indicate her feminine strength in the  dire circumstances in which  she had found herself many years before.

The other female actors, be they bit parts or main characters, carried their roles with a depth of confidence confidence that was outstanding.

Accolades to them all.

These productions get better every year. Many thanks to everyone involved in this stellar production.

Ruth E. Stewart


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