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THE COMEDY OF ERRORS presented by Cincinnati Shakespeare Company through Dec. 13. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the final preview performance.
CSC offers a fun and quirky production of the Bard’s THE COMEDY OF ERRORS. The setting for the show, the town of Ephesus, is re-imagined as a 1930s carnival. Here the commoners are the performers, the wealthy the patrons, and the government is management.
I am continually impressed with the talent level of the entire CSC ensemble. The show features strong performances by Jeremy Dubin as Dromio of Syracuse, Justin McCombs as Antipholus of Syracuse, Miranda McGee as Adrianna, Maggie Lou Rader as Lucianna, Paul Riopelle as Dromio of Ephesus & Courtney Lucien as the 2nd Merchant. Very fun to watch were the characters of Nell [actress not credited in the program] and The Abbess played by Abby Rowold. Considering how hideous Nell is supposed to be, I think you missed an opportunity to make her the bearded lady. As the Dromio twins, Dubin and Riopelle look enough alike that I didn’t immediately realize that the first switch had occurred.
Guest Director Patrick Flick aims for the funny bone, giving the humor a broad and slapstick bent which succeeds for the most part. I enjoyed the use of the silhouettes to help tell Egeon’s (Frank Delany) story of the loss of his family. The asides to the audience worked really well with McCombs stepping out of his “wife’s” embrace a personal favorite. At times, the energy wasn’t there to maintain the slapstick tone and some of the bits seemed more rehearsed than spontaneous. Also, the blocking for the final scene of the show felt a bit stagnant with most of the cast lined up along either side of the stage.
Noelle Wedig makes her CSC debut as Guest Costumer Designer. Very good work for the most part, but there were a few costumes that weren’t as successful. The cut of Luciana’s pants did not flair out enough to be baggy trousers of the period, making them look a bit too modern. Adriana’s dress was a bit too common-looking for a woman of her means and next to her husband, they did not look like a couple. The dress also read a bit too matronly, making her look more like Adriana’s mother than sister. I also didn’t understand the purple cape worn by Angelo (Billy Chance), the goldsmith.
Andrew Hungerford’s scenic and lighting designed worked well, with the use of banners helping to quickly change locations. I really enjoyed the ferris wheel in the distance, but I would have liked to have seen something upstage right to continue the eye-line a bit.
Overall a fun and satisfying production of high-energy hi jinks and mistaken identities.
My rating: 4.25 out of 5
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