Tony Milder & Crystian Wiltshire in The Comedy of Errors. Photo: Bill Brymer
The Comedy of Errors
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Matt Wallace
Review by Kate Barry
Entire contents are copyright © 2018, Kate Barry. All rights reserved.
Kentucky Shakespeare Festival opens a new summer season with laughs and gusto in The Comedy of Errors. A delightful romp at the C. Douglas Ramey Amphitheater in Central Park, the play serves up boundless humor in a manner comparable to a Bugs Bunny cartoon set in Greece. The rain did not hinder a single beat of the opening night performance and the modest audience was not disappointed. A comedy indeed, this production has everything: mistaken identities, sight gags, pratfalls, puns, and sexual innuendos. This show proves that Shakespeare knew what he was doing as he helped define comedic tropes and that the Festival in Central Park is back for a great season.
The action focuses on two brothers, both named Antipholus, and their respected servants, both named Dromio. Of Syracuse, we have Crystian Wiltshire as one brother with Neill Robertson by his side. Shaleen Cholera is of Ephesus with Tony Milder as his personal servant. These two pair of comrades are completely unaware that the other is alive, much less in the same town at the same time! Hilarity ensues as the characters entangle themselves in comedic chaos.
Wiltshire and Robertson play well off of each other with the chemistry of best friends who have no idea what they have gotten themselves into but are in it together. Robertson is a stand out with Dromio’s physicality as he flees unwanted sexual advances from various women of the town and delivers vaudevillian style banter with Wiltshire. Wiltshire’s Antipholus finds himself in the clutches of Adriana’s feminine wiles (played by Abigail Bailey Maupin, more on that later). Confused yet helpless to basic urges, Wiltshire plays into Adriana’s advances with great comedic timing and relatable naiveté.
Shaleen Cholera’s Antipholus builds in humorous exasperation as he attempts to return to his wife, Adriana and pay a debt. Cholera’s delivery of the “great indignity” speech in act two brims with delicious irony as he suffers from the mistaken identity tomfoolery. Tony Milder’s Dromio is a happy-go-lucky contrast to Cholera’s exasperation. Milder’s strongest moment is shared with Robertson as they not only prove that they are not the same character but also have some fun in a bit straight out of the Marx Brothers.
The entire cast brings their comedic A-game. Abigail Bailey Maupin’s Adriana has a sexual prowess and comedic magnitude reminiscent of Madeline Kahn in Young Frankenstein. Maupin, Ernaisja Curry, Hallie Dizdarevic, and Jennifer Pennington breathe subtle yet well-rounded life into stock female characters, making them anything but stereotypical. Jon Huffman’s Pinch delivers outlandish bits with silly props as he attempts to conjure spirits. Jon Patrick O’Brien as an officer and J. Barrett Cooper as Angelo are on point as they display overwhelming chauvinism and masculinity. Monte Priddy, Gregory Maupin, and Dathan Hooper get the comedy started by breaking the fourth wall with their prologue (of sorts). Priddy’s dry portrayal of Egeon matched with Maupin’s deadpan Duke pairs wonderfully with Hooper’s executioner sight gags and rounds out the cast perfectly.
It’s safe to say that The Comedy of Errors at Kentucky Shakespeare Festival is comedic gold. If you think Shakespeare is stuffy and pretentious, this fun comedy at Central Park will correct that error in judgment.
The Comedy of Errors
May 30 – July 22
Kentucky Shakespeare Festival
C. Douglas Ramey Theater at Central Park
Louisville, KY 40204
Admission is free! Amphitheater Opens at 6:30 with Food Trucks from the Louisville Food Truck Association, Will’s Tavern opens at 7:00 serving Brown-Forman, West Sixth and 502 Winery products, Pre-Show begins at 7:15 and the main stage production opens at 8:00.
On June 2nd, stay after the show for Louisville Improviser’s Late Night Shakes!
On June 7th, Open Captioning and Audio Description is available.
Check out our Facebook page or kyshakespeare.com for more information!
Kate Barry earned her Bachelors in English with a Theater minor from Bellarmine University in 2008. She has worked with many different companies around town including Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Bunbury Theater, Louisville Repertory Company, Walden Theater, Finnigan Productions and you have probably purchased tickets from her at that little performing arts center on Main Street as well. In 2012, her short play “PlayList” won festival favorite in the Finnigan Festival of Funky Fresh Fun. She has written for LEO Weekly and TheatreLouisville.com as well. Thanks for reading!