After quick visits to Orange, Dubbo and Bathurst, Bell Shakespeare’s 2022 touring production of The Comedy of Errors has come to Arts Centre Melbourne, before other stops ranging from the Sydney Opera House to Horsham. It’s a significant challenge to create a show that works for big city-centres with a plethora of theatre options, as well as regional towns that have few. The company doesn’t seem to try very hard to achieve that with this Comedy of Errors, which is clearly made to go on the road and bring Shakespeare to those who have little or no exposure to it.

Comedy of Errors Bell

The Comedy of Errors, Bell Shakespeare, 2022. Photo © Brett Boardman

This new production has a 70s disco vibe, a rudimentary set designed to quickly bump in and out of various spaces, and an aversion to delivering the text in a way that might be construed as highfalutin poetry. However, while the text also offers ample opportunity to tickle the masses’ funnybones, this take directed by Janine Watson has a strange paucity of comedy.