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Summer Shakepeare brings ‘The Comedy of Errors’ to the Esplande, Palmerston North

Summer Shakespeare director Peter Hambleton has presented the Bard in Palmerston North before.

In 2009 he directed Summer Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well on the car park in front of the Esplanade Scenic Railway station, incorporating the miniature trains as part of the action.

For this year’s The Comedy of Errors, which opens in the Esplanade Rose Gardens on Thursday, Hambleton has moved from miniature trains to model boats.

When the audience arrive, they will be greeted by a small flotilla of model boats bobbing on the Esplanade Rose Garden pond.

“The community aspect of the production is really important to me. I’ve done a few Summer Shakespeare productions now and celebrating and involving the community, and making it fun for the audience is all part of the Summer Shakespeare spirit,” Hambleton said.

The models are being provided by Maurice Job, a member of the Palmerston North Aeroneers.

The Comedy of Errors is a story about seafaring and shipwrecks, and Maurice has a wonderful collection of model boats. What we’d like is for people to bring their own models and add them to the fleet on the pond.”

For Sunday’s Esplanade Day 2pm matinee, Hambleton is expecting Job to turn up with a large model of a battleship.

Boats wouldn’t be the only models on show during the hour-and-a-half long play-through production.

“Nic Green has constructed a replica clocktower that will appear in the show. You’ll have to come along that to see why that is.”

As well as the teamwork and collaboration involving “a raft of people from across town”, Hambleton said he had attracted a great cast, including several local theatre award-winners.

“The play is about two sets of twins separated at birth and brought up in different countries. They get together again during one day in the city of Ephesus.”

In a gender-bending twist to the comic tale about double mistaken identity, Hambleton has the lead male characters played by women, and some of the female roles played by men, with the setting a thoroughly contemporary one.

“Shakespeare wrote this play with Palmerston North 2018 in mind. It has taken all this time for this startling piece of information to be revealed,” Hambleton said.

Expect some fast-paced action around the Rose Garden fishpond, with entry to the five 7pm and one 2pm performances by koha. There will be no wet weather venue, and any affected performance will be postponed until the next fine evening.


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