Theatre Review: “The Comedy of Errors”
“The Comedy of Errors” is your quintessential Shakespeare comedy; chocked full of hilarious slapstick in a production that is expertly directed for Richmond Shakespeare by Steve Perigard.
The plot of “Errors” is delightful in its ridiculousness. Egeon marries Emilia, they have a pair of identical twins and name them both Antipholus. Eagon and Emilia then adopt another pair of identical twins, both named Dromio, to act as servants to the their twins. The entire family is traveling at sea when a tempest separates Egeon along with one set of the twins, Antipholus and Dromio, and Emilia is lost with the other pair.
Many years go by until by sheer unbelievable happenstance, each set of twins is reunited with their respective sibling on the island of Ephesus. Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant Dromio have traveled to Ephesus in search of their long lost brothers and during their visit they are consistently mistaken for their twins and counterparts. This causes the Syracusian twins to believe they have landed on an island overrun with witches and the Ephesian twins to believe everyone in their lives has gone stark raving mad.
“Errors” is Richmond Shakespeare’s first production since their merger with Henley Street, and it definitely shows what these two successful theatre companies are capable of doing as one entity. A master director of physical comedy, Perigard ensures his audience is never bored and fine tunes his cast to create a delightful whirlwind of over-the-top antics that keep the audience entertained from start to finish. All I could hear around me when the play concluded was “Wow that was great,” “So funny,” “It was hilarious,”etc. well, you get the picture.
Matt Lipscomb and Jonathan Conyers play Antipholus of Ephesus and Syracuse. Besides being strikingly similar looking, both actors are natural and convincing in their roles. Conyers and Lipscomb both have leading man qualities and command attention when on stage. Their strong performances really help anchor the story. Once again John Mincks, playing Dromio of Ephesus, makes full use of his prowess of physical comedy in this role, bounding around the stage and often getting picked up by his co-stars. And the same goes for James Murphy playing Dromio of Syracuse. Both characters fall into a bit of a jester role and its obvious Mincks and Murphy had fun with the goofiness their parts required.
The supremely talented Molly Hood is hilarious as Antipholus of Ephesus’s wife Adriana. Hood is one of those actresses who can cause an uproar of laughter with just a simple glance or a hand gesture. David Janosik, no stranger to the Richmond Shakespeare stage, doesn’t hold anything back as Dr. Pinch who has been summoned by Adriana to exercise whatever demons she believes may have possessed her husband, enthusiastically flinging holy water at his fellow actors.
The costumes by Liz Hopper are, in a word, gorgeous. The attention to detail is very impressive, especially in the ladies’ gowns. The set is the usual bare minimum I’ve become used to at Richmond Shakespeare. Perigard makes full use of the already standing elements at Agecroft Hall and with only the movement of a couple of benches the cast is able to switch from scene to scene effortlessly.
“The Comedy of Errors” is playing at Agecroft Hall through July 7th.
www.richmondshakespeare.com for information
Jen Maciulewicz is theatre critic for GAYRVA.com and is a Richmond local. Jen attended VCU and holds a B.S. in Anthropology. She has starred as Reno Sweeney in Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes" and attended VCU’s School of Music. Follow Jen on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jenlaumac.
Given fuller measure are the funny men.July 11, 2016
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