Comedy of Errors



In 1734, an adaptation called See If You Like It was staged at Covent Garden. Drury Lane mounted a production in 1741, in which Charles Macklin played Dromio of Syracuse – in the same year as his famous breakthrough performance as Shylock. In the 1980s, the Flying Karamazov Brothers performed a unique adaptation of this play at the Lincoln Center in New York; it was shown on MTV and PBS.


On 27 December 1786, the opera Gli equivoci by Stephen Storace received its première at the Burgtheater in Vienna. The libretto, by Lorenzo da Ponte, follows the play's plot fairly closely, though some characters were renamed.[9]

Frederic Reynolds staged an operatic version in 1819, with music by Henry Bishop supplemented with some songs by Mozart and Arne. Various other adaptations were performed down to 1855, when Samuel Phelps revived the Shakespearean original at Sadler's Wells Theatre.[10] The Czech composer Iša Krejčí's 1943 opera Pozdvižení v Efesu (Turmoil in Ephesus) is also based on the play.


The play has been adapted as a musical at least three times, first as The Boys from Syracuse with a score by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, then in 1976 in a version by Trevor Nunn, scored by Guy Woolfenden, for the Royal Shakespeare Company, winning the Laurence Olivier Award for best musical on its transfer to the West End in 1977, and in 1981 as Oh, Brother! with a score by Michael Valenti and Donald Driver. A hip-hop musical adaptation, The Bomb-itty of Errors, won 1st Prize at HBO's Comedy Festival and was nominated opposite Stephen Sondheim for the Best Lyrics Drama Desk Award in 2001.


In India, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar adapted Shakespeare's play in his Bengali novel Bhranti Bilash (1869). Vidyasagar's efforts were part of the process of championing Shakespeare and the Romantics during the Bengal Renaissance.[11][12]


The film Big Business (1988) is a modern take on A Comedy of Errors, with female twins instead of male. Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin star in the film as two sets of twins separated at birth, much like the characters in Shakespeare's play.

Indian cinema has made eight films based on the play:

  • Do Dooni Char starring Kishore Kumar
  • Angoor, starring Sanjeev Kumar
  • Bhrantibilas (1963 Bengali film) starring Uttam Kumar
  • A movie in the Kannada language titled Ulta Palta starring Ramesh Aravind
  • A movie in the Telugu language titled Ulta Palta starring Rajendra Prasad
  • A movie in the Tulu language titled Aamait Asal Eemait Kusal starring Naveen D Padil
  • Double Di Trouble (2014 Punjabi Film) directed by Smeep Kang and starring Dharmendra, Gippy Grewal.
  • Local Kung Fu 2 (2017 Assamese martial arts film).

In 1940 the film The Boys from Syracuse was released, starring Alan Jones and Joe Penner as Antipholus and Dromio. It was a musical, loosely based on "Comedy of Errors".


  • Roger Daltrey played both Dromios in the BBC complete works series directed by James Cellan Jones in 1983.
  • A two-part TV adaptation was produced in 1978 in the USSR, with a Russian-Georgian cast of notable stage actors.
  • In the Yes Prime Minister episode "The Patron of the Arts" Prime Minister James Hacker complains that "they [the National Theatre] set The Comedy of Errors in Number 10 Downing Street".

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