Against a backdrop of Ancient Greece, the citizens of Ephesus are baying for the death of Aegean, a merchant from Syracuse - a city the Ephesians dislike. The Duke will only reprieve him if he can buy his way out of trouble. He explains that he had twin sons, who had twin slaves, who were separated by a shipwreck and that he, Aegean, came to Ephesus to look for them. Meanwhile Antipholus and his slave Dromio of Ephesus (one half of the lost quartet) avoid paying for some suits the tailor has made them whilst Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse (the other half) are warned by a merchant of Syracuse to leave Ephesus as soon as possible. There now begins a whole series of confusing mix-ups, whereby the citizens of Ephesus mistake Antipholus of Syracuse for Sir Antipholus of Ephesus, and each master mistakes one Dromio for the other! Adriana, the wife of Antipholus of Ephesus, complains that her husband hardly ever comes home. She, along with her cook Luce (who is married to Dromio of Ephesus) and Luciana, her sister, set out to woo Antipholus back home. Due to the identical looks of the twins, they bring home the 'boys from Syracuse'; when Antipholus of Syracuse meets Luciana, they are transfixed by each other but convince themselves that this can't be love.
When Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus return home late after gallivanting with the local courtesans, they find the doors bolted and Adriana and Luce insisting that their real husbands are upstairs in bed with them! The confusion continues and Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus take refuge again with the courtesans, who try by means of a ballet and general cosseting to ease their befuddled minds.
In front of Adriana's house, Antipholus of Syracuse tells his slave to find out when the next ship for Syracuse sails - he can't stand Ephesus any longer and they're going home. Luciana is hurt when Antipholus of Syracuse says Adriana means nothing to him - though she is obviously upset that he is leaving. Further mistaken identity confusion occurs over a gold chain that Angelo has made for Antipholus, but given to the wrong one!
Adriana comforts her crying sister (with sarcastic interjections from Luce) saying that marriage always turns out different to expectations and that you have to sing for your supper. The Courtesan is the next female to be hurt because of the confusion: Antipholus of Syracuse denies knowing her and yet only the night before she was entertaining Antipholus of Ephesus! She is as confused as the two Syracusans and longs for an honest man. Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus then get involved in the confusion over the gold chain and a fight breaks out when Antipholus is accused of being a liar. They escape into the Seeress' temple and hide. As the Duke enters with Aegean, Adriana pleads with him to get her husband back to his right mind, while he begs for justice against his wife for locking him out of the house. The farcical confusion finally resolves itself with the boys from Syracuse emerging from the temple and recognizing Aegean; the money for the gold chain is used by Antipholus of Ephesus to free his father and safeguard his brother; the two Dromios are reunited, as are Adriana with her Antipholus and Luciana with hers. Luce embraces both Dromios, as the company end the show. However, love has triumphed, as the Seeress reveals herself as Emelia, Aegean's long-lost wife and the two Antipholuses' mother!
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