Comedy of Errors (1960): Bristol Old Vic
PrComedy of Errors (1960)
PRINCIPAL CAST: Susan Bennett (Adriana); Richard Gale (Antipholus of Syracusa); Margaret Griffin (Luciana); Michael Mellinger (Dromio of Ephesus); Leonard Rossiter (Dromio of Syracusa); John Standing (Antipholus of Ephesus).
As well as Cy Grant, there is also Claude Collier listed as a "Conga Drummer" in the cast list.
This production ran from 28 June 1960 for two weeks.
"Season your Shakespeare generously with music in the Calypso rhythm, add a pinch of voodoo, a Conga drummer, and an assortment of waterfront layabouts with an enthusiasm for the dance, dress your leading characters in the Napoleonic period, and you have Bristol Old Vic's current production of The Comedy of Errors. Lyrics are mostly by W. Shakespeare from his other well-known successes, Much Ado, Love's Labour's Lost, The Merchant and Henry IV Part 2, although there are also some Haitian and French creole words and even a few lines from Keats. Music is traditional Haitian, plus tunes composed by Herb Greer in collaboration with Cy Grant, and Michael Mellinger. Cy Grant is there in person to loom up, tall and handsome and rich in voice, from the auditorium to open the proceedings with "Tell Me Where is Fancy Bred" in that hip-swinging rhythm. From then on his part is similar to the one he plays in TV's Tonight, only more so, the wandering minstrel linking the action dreamily in song, but always skilful enough to avoid getting in the way. Producer John Hale's more unexpected diversions include the courtezan in 19th-century dress, smoking a cigarette, and Pinch transformed into a witch-doctor, complete with weirdly attired attendants breaking into a voodoo dance. One felt that a suitable finale might have been for Mr. Grant to have led dancers, actors and audience triumphantly out of the theatre to weave through the Bristol streets in Conga formation. Whatever the purists may have to say about it, the production makes a rollicking end-of-season entertainment, and it is a credit to both Mr. Hale's production and to the actors that the play itself does not become swamped by the trimmings." ~ "Voodoo and conga in Bristol's Errors", The Stage, 7 July 1960