Comedy of Errors
Written by William Shakespeare
Starring Warren Kelly, Rik Walter, David Haugen, and Eric Hissom
Orlando Shakespeare Festival
Poor Aegeon of Syracuse! Shipwrecked again, he washes up in Ephesus, only to face a beheading because a.) he’s from Syracuse and b.) he can’t pony up the 1000 smackers needed to buy back his freedom. It’s a gang territory thing. The Ancients were just a bunch of gangsters, only with really good taste in Architecture. “Wait a minute,” you say, “I paid for a comedy! What’s with a beheading in the first act?” Not to worry — we’ve got pairs of identical twins, separated at birth, all who show up in this astigmatic town, and nothing can go wrong, not in the long run. With two identically dressed Antipholii (Kelly and Walter) wandering about, each with identically dressed Dromios (Hissom and Haugen) in service, we should be able to straighten things out in a scene or two. No one can tell anyone apart in Ephesus, especially if they’re sort of the same size and shape. I saw you 10 minutes ago and now you don’t remember me? Happens all the time in this Bard’s universe. Off we go — Antipholus The Local’s wife grabs Antipholus The Tourist for dinner. Shut out of his own house, Antipholus T. Local takes his buddies to dinner at the local house of negotiable love. Jewelry goes to the wrong Antipholus. Money goes to the wrong servant. Beatings are applied to the wrong miscreant. People are arrested, only to reappear before their dopplegangers have quite cleared the stage. Want a logical plot? Go see an opera.
However, if you are in the mood for Elizabethan farce, fart jokes, fat chick jokes, and general fun mayhem, you can’t do better. An energetic cast runs in and out of the Technicolor cartoon set, with Hissom and Walter exchanging actual blows from time to time. Strong support from the larger than ridiculous Balthazar (Devin McLean), the proto-HMO Dr. Pinch (Michael Dressler), and miniature Abbess (Holly Haire) carry the action through the medieval puns you might not get. Even the Orlando Fire Department keeps its sirens down for the show. Oh, yeah — Aegeon. Don’t worry, one of the twins sort of recognizes him, or maybe both, but they have the scratch to throw his bail. Hey, it’s a comedy, remember?