Review: The Venetian Twins

Grant O'Rourke in the Venetian Twins. Picture: Comp
Grant O'Rourke in the Venetian Twins. Picture: Comp
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THE clown of his day, Carlo Goldoni’s 18th-century farce about mistaken identity in Verona has been given a Scottish-accented make-over in Tony Cownie’s new version.

* * * * * *

Royal Lyceum

A modern, homogenised comedy of errors, it’s a laugh-riot from beginning to end, as two twin brothers - daft Bergamot yokel Zanetto, and virtuous Venetian, Tonino - wind-up causing no end of confusion when, unbeknownst to one another, they arrive in the same city to wed their respective partners.

What ensues is like watching a live stage version of The Broons (where everyone gets the wrong end of the stick), only everyone’s dressed like an Italian dandy.

Grant O’Rourke does well to convince as two different characters - whether coming off as a pompous Orson Welles-like Tonino or as silly laddie Zanetto.

The real genius of the piece, though, rests in the top-notch ensemble cast, who, particularly in the case of both Kern Falconer and John Ramage, deliver a masterclass in acting and comedic timing.

The facial expressions, the slight raising of the eyebrows, the slapstick of it all. Watch these two in action is a lesson for all budding actors.

That said, James Anthony Pearson’s young Willy Wonka-esque and obnoxious Lelio is arguably the finest performance of them all.

The humour in Cownie’s adaptation is spot on. His direction is too.

There’s a laugh literally around every corner while there’s a temptation for some to milk certain scenes, no joke outstays its welcome. Indeed, dialogue is a large part of the show’s appeal. Satirical, witty, identifiable, including a staged spat with a member of the audience. In the end, well, everything gets tied up in a neat pink bow. In short, bellissimo.

Run ends 16 May