(Alfred Hickling’s article appeared in the Guardian, 4/9.)

The Comedy of Errors

Royal Exchange, Manchester

Roxana Silbert was recently appointed an associate director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, but as the former head of Paines Plough she has principally focused on new work. It's tempting to speculate what a script reader's report might be if Shakespeare's first play arrived on their desk today: "Dear Mr Shakespeare, your comedy shows signs of potential, but is hampered by some awkward exposition and an over-reliance on two sets of identical twins that is scarcely credible."

Though Silbert's ability to bring new plays to life is beyond question, as a director of Shakespeare she was an unknown quantity – so it was far-sighted of the Royal Exchange to present her Shakespearean debut. If the results here are any indication, she ought to go down a storm in Stratford.

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