Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Comedy of Errors -Seattle Shakespeare Company

Seattle Shakaespeare Company
@ The Center House Theatre
January 4 - 28, 2007
For Tickets: 206-733-8222 or Online

An enjoyable classic erupts in a pirate-oriented world of absurd comedy amid a myriad of talented actors, unique music and complementing technical aspects. Seattle Shakespeare Company’s portrayal of The Comedy of Errors does exactly what its title implies, creating a world in which characters tumble and stumble through ridiculous situations, much to the delight of the audience. Within the first ten minutes of the play, the exposition is presented. Two sets of twin brothers, separated during a childhood shipwreck, are now inadvertently present in the same town of Ephesus where mistaken identity creates confusion and mayhem for the populace.

This chaos manifests itself in the hilarity of many stylistic choices, beginning with the entrance of the actors in a clamor of music, swords and unique lighting. The original music (Don Darryl Rivera) also brings an air of humor to situations, complimenting the actors and enhancing the story. This music is joined with the actor’s uniquely exaggerated facial expressions and specific movements to leave the audience in a roll of laughter, notably the hilarious moments captured by Adriana (Deborah Fialkow). Each scene finds a way to work simultaneously and artfully with the audience’s reactions.

Photo by John Ulman

The Caribbean style set (Jason Phillips), with its numerous entrances and vantage points, has as many quirks and characteristics as the actors themselves. Many scenes are reminiscent of a Hanna Barbara cartoon, with characters running to and fro, crashing into each other, and peeking out of balcony windows. At the same time, the lights (Tim Wratten) are used to enhance moments, such as Aegeon’s (Gregg Loughridge) storytelling, in which lights dim and flash, complemented by crashing sounds, to give the illusion of stormy night. All of these elements are used to enhance the comedic timing of the piece.

Inherent in every aspect is the unmistakable absurdity of the characters’ circumstances, which bring a hilarity that ties the events together. From a slap-stick chase scene to perfectly timed movements the characters present a world of mayhem culminating in an even more shocking and absurd finale. Join the merriment in the Center House Theatre through January 28th, and don’t miss a special late night cabaret performance in which the actors sing popular songs completely in character.

Reviewed By Jack Jarden and Rick Skyler

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