FOLLOWING a 10-day delay, caused by Covid within the cast, the Citizens Theatre Company’s much-anticipated rendering of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors finally took to the stage on Wednesday. The show played in the large, gazebo-style auditorium that Scottish Opera has erected in the car park of its Glasgow studios.

Despite having time for only one preview performance before the rescheduled press night, director Dominic Hill’s staging of the Bard’s comedy is a very palpable hit. Played in designer Jessica Worrall’s delightfully flamboyant modern dress, with a brilliant cast of just seven, the piece is sure-footed and very funny. Set in the classical Greek city of Ephesus, the play centres upon the extravagant misunderstandings that ensue from mistaken identities. The chaos is prompted by the arrival in Ephesus of the wealthy Antipholus of Syracuse and his enslaved servant, Dromio, both in search of their Ephesian twin brothers (from whom they were separated in childhood and who, unbeknownst to them, live under the same names).

As so often in Shakespeare’s comedies, there are dark forces at work beneath the humour. The merchant Egeon (father of the Antipholus twins) came to Ephesus in search of his long-lost son. As a Syracusan, he is forbidden from entering the rival city, and now faces execution. Meanwhile, the confusion created by the mistaking of the brothers Antipholus and Dromio for each other leads Adriana (wife of Antipholus of Ephesus) into dangerous conflict with her husband. Rebelling against the seeming threat to her honour, the good lady is played with compelling, fierce gusto by the excellent Jessica Hardwick.

It is to Hill’s great credit that the production manages to reflect the light and shade of the play, even as it rattles through its one hour and 45 minutes (with no interval) at a pace that would impress the great slapstick filmmakers Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker. Ewan Miller and Michael Guest pull off the playing of the brothers Antipholus and Dromio, respectively, with tremendous energy and neat hat tricks.

John Macaulay is superb in no fewer than three roles, investing the wretched Egeon with tremendous pathos, and Angelo, the confused goldsmith, with hilarious incredulity. Composer Nikola Kodjabashia weaves his score, performed live by actor musicians, through the play with his typically reflective intelligence.

This frustratingly truncated run of The Comedy of Errors may have ended, but it is a production that demands a rapid return.