British Black and Asian Shakespeare Performance Database
The Boys From Syracuse (1990): Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
PrThe Boys From Syracuse (1990)
PRINCIPAL CAST: Howard Anthony (Antipholus of Ephesus); Martyn Ellis (Dromio of Ephesus); Shelaagh Ferrell (Luciana); Paul Hillyer (Antipholus of Syracuse); Liz Izen (Adriana); Clive Rowe (Dromio of Syracuse).
This production ran from 2 - 31 March 1990.
"To begin with, Antipholus of Ephesus (Howard Anthony) is black and his twin (Paul Hillyer) is white. The geographical reverse happens with the Dromios (Martyn Ellis and Clive Rowe). So the business of mistaking one for the other is purely a matter of dramatic artifice. Almost all the Shakespearean jokes are kept until after the interval; the first half is more concentrated with introducing the characters....The dancing, choreographed by Carole Todd, is elegant and beautifully done. Shelaagh Ferrell's Luciana, Christina Avery's Courtesan, Karen Clegg's...Galatea were enchanting."
"But the master-stroke here is the inter-racial mix-up in the two sets of twins. We have one black and one white Dromio enslaved, respectively, to one white and one black Antipholus....Clive Rowe, as the black Dromio, gives the most enchanting performance I have seen all year, and he embodies more bravely than anyone else the production's wit and essential ingenuity in devising a slapstick infrastructure for the risible, and finally disturbing, confrontational mirror talk." ~ B.A. Young, "Syracuse surfaces in Sheffield", Financial Times, 10 March 1990
"To make the identical twinship the more implausible and comic, Venables has cast a black Antipholus with a white one, a white Dromio with a black one....The zany Clive Rowe as the servant Dromio of Ephesus is a clown with a brilliant future." ~ Michael Schmidt, "Teasing tangle of identical twins", Daily Telegraph, 7 March 1990
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