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The Comedy of Errors

a Comedy
CATEGORY : COMEDY
by Shakespeare

COMPANY : Georgia Shakespeare [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Conant Performing Arts Center [WEBSITE]
ID# 1268

SHOWING : June 08, 2005 - August 07, 2005

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Wacky fun is the name of the game as two identical twins, seperated at birth, turn a sleepy town upside down. Featuring Chris Kayser and Chris Ensweiler.


CAST & CREW LIST
Assistant Stage Manager Rita Ann Marcec
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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Wanting to Be Fooled
by Dedalus
Sunday, June 26, 2005
4.0
Okay, it’s been less than five years since Georgia Shakespeare last mounted “Comedy of Errors,” even less time sine the Shakespeare Tavern’s wonderful foray. I’ve seen four different productions live and have three more on video. So the question on the table is – do we really need another version?

All I can say is, it doesn’t hurt.

This is one of my all-time favorite favorites (What? You couldn’t tell when I said I had three versions on video?), and Ga Shakes’ new production hits almost every note right (unlike their disastrous Greek-accented effort last time, which sent me screaming from the theatre in agony).

So, rather than burdening my tired brain with a thoughtful analysis of why I like this play, or a serious consideration of the seriousness underlying the serious merrymaking, or how much the characters’ deceptions are the result of their desire to be deceived, let’s talk about the cast. I always believed that two fun extremes would work very well with this particular opus – either the actors playing the twins would look nothing alike, making all the tomfoolery even tomfoolerier, or the same actors would play each twin, with clever stagecraft filling in the gaps for the last scene when they’re all on stage at the same time In fact, two of my video versions do just this – in the first, Roger Daltrey and Roger Rees are electronically duplicated in the last scene (yawn), and in the second, body doubles with their backs to the audience are used.

I’m disappointed to report that Georgia Shakespeare uses neither of these approaches. They tracked down two actors who bear an uncanny resemblance to regulars Chris Kayser and Chris Ensweiler, they put them in absurd costumes and wigs, and they hope we don’t notice the difference. Ha! I could see through their silly deception! That pesky last scene hoist them on their own petard! Seeing the “visiting cast” side by side with the regular folks we’ve come to recognize from way back really shows how bankrupt this normal casting scheme can be.

This is not to say that the two Chris’s and their visiting doppelgangers were in any way not up to the task. Working in a Marx Brothers meets Carnival conception, they dive into the material like, well, like the Marx Brothers visiting the Carnival. They were ably supported by a wealth of over-the-top character actors included Rob Cleveland’s marvelous Dr. Pinch, the dueling divas of Crystal Dickenson (Adriana) and Megan McFarland (Abbess), and he always lovely and memorable Courtney Patterson (Luciana). Even the Familiar-Faces-In-walk-On-Roles that filled the cast left nothing to be desired.

But, the directors at Georgia Shakespeare need to remember that they have a brighter-than-the-average-audience audience, so they shouldn’t try to fool us with pseudo-fictional bios. We can tell there were four actors playing the roles, Not just two!

Unlike the residents of Ephesus, we are not so easily fooled!

-- Brad Rudy (BKRudy@aol.com) [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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