Cost: Our tickets were comp'ed, but you can buy yours here (Tickets range from $14-$50)
|Antipholus of Ephesus (Mike Ryan, left) bestows orders on his servant, Dromio of Ephesus (Brad DePlanche, right) in Shakespeare Santa Cruz's 2011 production of "The Comedy of Errors."|
I'm going to start this review by saying that this isn't a play I've read or seen before. I would like to thank my high school AP English teacher for pointing out that Shakespeare's work isn't meant to be read, it was meant to be watched. So there.
The play starts with a one-man-band (Jonathan Shue) providing ambient music, and Carly Cioffi playing an Adelaide-esque director, scrambling to put together a skeleton cast for this play- seven players playing twenty roles. Totally do-able.
Most of the initial exposition is brilliantly accomplished using an overhead projector, which is ridiculously funny and incredibly effective. All of the cast-stretching methods were equally funny and effective- using glasses to differentiate between twins, quick (and occasionally incomplete) costume changes- it was all comic gold. Especially if - like me - you have the sense of humor of a (not very sophisticated) 12-year-old boy.
Without giving too much away, if you like slapstick, absurdist humor, or dudes in dresses, you'll enjoy this show. The *one* slight issue I had with the play was Susan Engbrecht's performance (who played Adriana). It felt like she wasn't familiar enough with the script to do more than really yell her lines and beat her castmates with a purse. I'm not saying that I could have done a better job, but the caliber of her castmates was pretty high, and she stood out as a considerably weaker performer.
The only other *slight* disappointment is that this isn't being performed in the Festival Glen. (I would attend a reading of the phone book in the Glen, for the record.)
Despite my love of the Glen, this play is still totally worth attending. If you're in the mood for a good date play, this is a great way of spending an evening- especially if you grab a nice dinner first.
(To get your Festival Glen fix, you'll have to attend another show. Fortunately for you, I'll be reviewing all the shows this season.)