From the very beginning it is impossible not to admire how incredibly The Comedy of Errors has resisted the passage of time.

Portrayed in the play is a world on the brink of collapse brought by merchants, who had became so powerful that they were capable of dictating the rules to the feudal lords, who defended their sovereignty by implementing rather impossible laws.

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For example: every Syracusan citizen found in the city of Epheus will be sentenced to death unless a ransom of a thousand marks is paid.

But the team at Shakespeare’s Globe did not exploit this motive. They let the text stand for itself as they staged the play in the historical surroundings of Oxford’s Bodleian Library. The stage, the characters and the costumes were just incidental.

And this rather risky approach paid off generously, because with lack of any imposed interpretation the audience were compelled to seek contemporary meanings of the play – but also enjoy the brilliant amusement it delivers.

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It is Shakespearian theatre at its best, when not only waves of genuine laughter answer over 400 years-old puns, but the audience gets immersed in a show, which with the Globe’s lightness, worked as a mirror where one can see one’s own life.

There is something surprisingly topical about the play, whose plot described in two lines seems utterly idiotic: two pairs of twins who had been separated in childhood now wonder around the city of Epheus, wreaking havoc by being mistaken one for another and taking actions which are attributed to their twin brothers.

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Soon one man is very close to beheading and a marriage is on the verge of catastrophe. Accusations of madness and lunacy are not only thrown in nearly every sentence, along with kicks and punches, but within this incredible mess, characters ask one another: “Do you know me, sir? Am I your man? Am I myself?” and “Am I in earth, in heaven, or in hell? Sleeping or waking, mad, or well-advis’d?”

It is Shakespeare’s craft and the Globe’s understanding of it, that transforms it into a universal story, where we all are Antipholuses, Dromios and Adrianas struggling to be decent spouses, workers and citizens and failing all the time.