Shaw's Comedy of Errors

You Never Can Tell - George Bernard Shaw

I have to admit that I really didn't get into this play all that much, but then again I can't expect to like every one of Shaw's plays (I know that is the case with Shakespeare and the Greek playwrights). I guess there are a couple of reasons as to why I didn't particularly like this one, though one of those reasons would have to be that it is probably one of those plays that are better seen performed on stage. Mind you, even if that were the case (that is I get to see the play performed live) there isn't any guarantee that I'm not going to be sitting there, twiddling my thumbs, and resisting the temptation to scream out 'boring!'. The other reason was that it simply seemed to be so ordinary – it was set in an English seaside hotel – which is unlike many of Shaw's other plays.


Actually, I'm also going to have to say that the plot was pretty ordinary as well. There wasn't all that much about this particular play that really grabbed me and wanted me to say 'this is great'. It wasn't like Androcles and the Lion, which is set in a Roman gladiatorial arena (or at least the prison cells underneath), or Caeser and Cleopatra, which is basically a prequel to Julius Caeser and Antony and Cleopatra. No, it was just one of those rather ordinary romantic comedies that I basically go out of my way not to see.


Anyway, as I mentioned, the play is mostly set at an English seaside resort and centres around a woman and her daughters after they return from abroad. The thing is that the woman's husband, and the daughters' father, is a big unknown. After a bunch of comedies of errors, it suddenly becomes apparent that one of the other characters happens to be the husband and the father and everything ends happily, with the exception of Valentine, who goes through the entire play attempting to court one of the daughters and failing abysmally. The play then ends with the waiter (who has earned the nickname William Shakespeare because, well, he looks like Shakespeare) saying 'you never can tell' (which is a phrase he repeats quite often throughout the play).


Mind you, I'm sure if I end up seeing it performed (by a good theatre company mind you) I will end up quite liking it, however reading it in book form just didn't seem to grab me all that much.