The Art House in Southampton is like many other community run cooperatives I have been to. A glorious jumble of lots of people’s ideas and passion. Art on the walls, delicious healthy vegetarian and vegan food, vintage shop, and upstairs… a performance space.
And it is in this space that my tale begins. Performed by a group of students, I was at first concerned by the confusion of the ‘in character’ ‘out of character’ preamble. Once they actually begun performing Comedy of Errors I was impressed and uplifted by the skill of delivery. Uplifted I remained, and was thus carried at quite some speed along the central story.
Performed with huge energy, and creativity. Some errors were comic, others went un-noticed. Clever doubling of characters using simple props. Predominantly costume and set were void leaving facial expressions and Shakespeare’s eloquent story telling to do the rest.
As an experiment to pick up an abridged Shakespeare text in a week and perform it, these young thespians did an excellent job. Making Shakespeare accessible and letting the raucous fun prevail.
As a performance to pay for, there were some clear stage issues. Placing chairs behind one of the few bits of set and directing action to take place in front of it is just unforgivable, despite loud and clear vocal performances. Plus perhaps the lack of group rehearsals (due to some illness I found out afterwards) did show.
I would still definitely recommend seeing this ambitious troupe, and will look out for another such event should I find myself in Southampton again.