Accompanied by a honky tonk piano player in the upstage corner, A Noise Within”™s boisterous new production of Shakespeare”™s Comedy of Errors breathes as much life and fun as possible into this fusty old pseudo-farce.
Review by Pauline Adamek
The show features plenty of madcap tomfoolery and a motley crew of vaudeville acts, including trio of burlesque dancers in bejeweled costumes, stand up comics, a strongman, a ventriloquist – all in addition to the authentic text and Greek characters created by Shakespeare over 400 years ago.
The Comedy of Errors is one of the Bard”™s most beloved comedies that, following the Italian tradition of commedia dell”™arte, set the bench mark for zany theatrical misadventures involving identical twins and mistaken identities.
Director Michael Michetti takes a highly creative approach to this play and has even created a funny old silent movie, filmed in the style of the era. Projected on a sheet upstage, it serves as a prologue and provides the audience with some backstory to the wacky saga that is about to unfold.
The Comedy of Errors tells the tale of two sets of identical twins that were accidentally separated at birth. Antipholus of Syracuse (Bruce Turk) and his servant, Dromio of Syracuse (Jerry Kernion), arrive in Ephesus, which turns out to be the home of their twin brothers, Antipholus of Ephesus and his servant, Dromio of Ephesus. When the Syracusans encounter the friends and families of their twins, a series of wild mishaps based on mistaken identities lead to wrongful beatings, a near-seduction, the arrest of Antipholus of Ephesus, and accusations of infidelity, theft and madness.
Of course, as the twins are each played by the same actor, you start to wonder what”™s going to happen at the end. The way Michetti handles this revelation is side-splittingly hilarious and ingenious.
Another inventive technique is having the pianist (David Bickford) occasionally provide goofy sound effects such as whistles, car horns and cowbells to underscore or punctuate the speeches and “˜Three Stooges”™ style pratfalls and madness.
Abby Craden is especially good as Adriana, the shrewish wife of Antipholus. She brings a ballsy brassiness to her performance that is reminiscent of Catherine Zeta Jones, especially during the half-spoken song Aren”™t Women Grand? Annie Abrams is also good as the ditzy, bubble-gum voiced blonde sister, as is Rene Ruiz playing the ventriloquist and First Merchant.
Michetti, who describes The Comedy of Errors as “one of Shakespeare”™s liveliest, most exuberant plays,” adds a unique twist, staging a “˜play within a play”™ as though a 1920’s American Vaudeville or Burlesque company is presenting a production of The Comedy of Errors. “Much of Shakespeare”™s dialogue is written in snappy rhythms similar to those that were later employed in burlesque sketches, and the broad comedy in the play lends itself perfectly to this setting,” Michetti explains.
Shakespeare is seldom this fun.Â Catch this show!
The Comedy of Errors
A Noise Within
234 South Brand Boulevard
Glendale, CA 91204
Playing on the following dates:
Thursday, April 14, 8pm
Friday, April 15, 8pm
Saturday, April 23, 2pm
Saturday, April 23, 8pm
Sunday, April 24, 2pm
Sunday, May 1, 2pm
Sunday, May 1, 7pm
Thursday, May 5, 8pm
Friday, May 6, 8pm
Saturday, May 14, 2pm
Saturday, May 14, 8pm
Approximately 2 hours, including a 10 minute intermission
$46 (Friday and Saturday evenings, Sunday matinees);
$42 (Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings, Saturday matinees);
Group rates and special rates for school groups available.
TICKETS & INFO:
Go to their site or call (818) 240-0910 x1