Ironically enough I had a conversation with a twenty-something yesterday who was looking for recommendations for his first theatre experience. He had vaguely heard about Bard on the Beach and thought this might be a great place for him to start. After trying to steer him away from the deep end of the pool, I recommended a couple of options from the shallower side where he could get his feet wet. I now wish those options had included The Bomb-itty of Errors, a high energy, kick-ass hip-hop take on Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors.
Based on the Bard’s ridiculous comedy of mistaken identities, The Comedy of Errors is the perfect target for this modern “ad-rap-tation” not only because of its broad comedy and slapstick but more conveniently because the original’s use of puns and wordplay makes it easy pickings for the show’s writers.
Attacking the show with enough energy that must see gallons of Gatorade consumed post-show, Catriona Leger directs an amazing cast of four (David A Kaye, Jameson Parker, Brian Cochrane and Niko Koupantsis), led by two Dromios who could easily pass for the twins they are meant to portray.
Playing the dozen or so characters in the show, the quartet have as much fun in their female roles as the male roles although Parker and Koupantsis were much more convincing (and funnier) as the sisters Adriana and Luciana than they were as their brothers of Ephesus. Contrastingly, Kaye and Cochrane found most of their strength in their male roles as Dromio and Antipholus of Syracuse. Among the smaller of the characters in play, Cochrane nails the Jewish MC Hendelberg and Koupantsis gives us a hilarious turn as a cop fashioned after a long lost Super Mario Brother.
Vanessa Imeson once again proves she is a costume designer to watch with her exaggerated street clothes, complete with on-trend neon accents and a set of hilarious wigs that with a few colour changes would make a live-action version of The Simpsons a distinct possibility. Jonathan Tsang brings a simple graffiti painted backdrop which frames the fifth member of this cast, DJ Oker who flawlessly creates the beats for the show.
For all its strengths though, The Bomb-itty of Errors isn’t without its problems. At 120 minutes without intermission it is about a ½ hour too long. By the time we hit the 90 minute mark and start in on the bedroom farce (sans slamming doors) much of the energy that has kept the show afloat seemed to have been sucked out of the room. Huge gaps where nothing happens, except perhaps backstage as actors attempt impossible costume changes, result in a disappointing lead-up to the rather tepid ending. As well, despite the rich language of its source material the actors become hampered somewhat in the lightning fast delivery necessary which forces a bigger emphasis on the physical aspects of the show resulting in a more-choreographed look overall than one of spontaneity.
But these small complaints shouldn’t dissuade you from going, for the entire package isn’t just da’ bomb, it is an explosion!
Now you’ll have to excuse me, I have a phone call to make before my twenty-something friend buys tickets to something under a tent.
By Jordan Allen Dutton, Jason Catalano, Gregory J Qaiyum, Erik Weiner and Jeffery Qaiyum. Directed by Catriona Leger. A Twenty Something Theatre presentation of a Tempory Thing production. On stage at Studio 16 through April 22, 2012. Visit http://www.bombittyoferrors.com for tickets and information.