Bailey Lomax, Brandon Burk, and Emma Payne in The Comedy of Errors.
Photo: Kentucky Shakespeare.
The Comedy of Errors
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Kyle Ware
Review by Annette Skaggs
Entire contents are copyright © 2015 by Annette Skaggs, all rights reserved.
Have you ever arrived in a different city and, while walking around, people from out of the blue start talking and interacting with you as if they’ve known you forever? That is what happens in the Shakespeare play The Comedy of Errors.
If you are not familiar with the plot, a merchant from Syracuse by the name of Egeon comes to the town of Ephesus in hopes of finding his long-lost wife, son, and his son’s slave after having become separated from them many years ago in a shipwreck. There is friction between Ephesus and Syracuse, and any Syracusean found in Ephesus could be executed unless a handsome ransom is paid. What Egeon doesn’t know is that his grown son Antipholus, so renamed to honor his lost twin brother and his slave Dromio, also renamed to honor his twin brother, had set off to search as well. And now the comedy of errors begins.
The stage is simple. Not a lot of props, save for a large trunk at the opening of the act. A young boy comes on stage, dressed in what appears to be modern clothes. He opens the trunk, and a comical tune (what I believed to be something from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure) begins to play and immediately stops when the trunk closes. When he opens it again, the music plays and he brings out a blue uniform, and before you know it, three characters dressed as police begin to chase the young boy. Not just any kind of officer, but classic, silent-film Keystone Cops, and the accompanying music and antics off and on the stage solidify the resemblance. This bit of staging certainly sets the tone for the whole play. Great call by director Kyle Ware.
The whole of the cast are students from 13 high schools that make up Kentucky Shakespeare’s Globe Players. These 20+ actors worked intensely for about six weeks to prepare for their show, and they performed admirably. I was most impressed with the two Dromios, played with rising comedic timing by Kate Barnett and Bailey Lomax. All of the actors were diligent in their respective roles and seemed to be enjoying themselves, which in turn helps the audience enjoy the show even more. There were times when they would speak a long line of verse, becoming a little less clear to a point of breathlessness. It is perfectly fine to take a pause.
I enjoyed the use of various sound effects and musical cues (the Habanera for Zoe Peterson’s Courtesan was a fun choice), even if they were a little off at times.
Overall, The Comedy of Errors was an absolutely entertaining performance from some of Louisville’s up-and-coming actors and actresses.
The Comedy of Errors
July 29-August 2, 2015
8:00PM Nightly Free Show, 7:15 pre-show
Kentucky Shakespeare Festival
Louisville, KY 40208
[box_light]Annette Skaggs is a heavily involved Arts Advocate here in Louisville and freelance professional opera singer who has performed throughout Europe, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Boulder, Little Rock, Peoria, Chicago, New York and of course Louisville. Aside from her singing career she has been a production assistant for Kentucky Opera, New York Opera and Northwestern University. She has a 25+ year knowledge of the Classical Arts.[/box_light]