“The Comedy of Errors” – A commentary, a review.
‘Tis 48 hours since a “Ghost Light” beaconed proudly. ‘Tis 24 hours plus one since a grey rain trumpeted down throughout the land. This day – this very day of rest – this Sat-tur-day – a vibrant throng marches globally – finding millions of women, modern St. Joan’s with men beside them making siege to underscore an “Enfant Terrible’s” rage and reign. Me thinks it’s all a comedy of Errors- yet “alas poor Yorick” it be all too real. We pray history will not be repeated.
In solidarity sits I in a most cherished bastion of expression- of hope – a theater! – The Hartford Stage by name! On this day, all I want to do is lose myself in the play- the play is the thing and for a vibrant neon 90 minutes- I am aglow – for this infamous winter is now made glorious summer! The perfect play for this imperfect moment – The Hartford Stages production of William Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors” – a comedic musical divine!
Here I sit, row 6, seat 208, – A slow lone tear rolls from my eye – my heart is joyful- sunshine glows inward as I take in the delicious “kitch” technicolored Greek on-stage village setting of “Errors” – think Mediterranean blues and Aegean foams, a harbor docks duel fishing boats housing duel fishermen/musicians, stage right home to the red light district, a Santorini style monastery beckons from center stage. Our players- 22 strong, from its leads to the ensemble are having fun – boisterous rollicking fun- and it shows- all the way to a very appreciated audience. I swear, I want to join them on stage or even hop on the next plane and visit the blue grotto!
Ok – who’s ta blame in this new blameful society? Well I blame Darko Darko Darko! Tresnjak that is- “Errors” Director and Scenic Designer for this effervescent exhilarating mixture of 60s Beach Blanket Bingo, Greek culture, Shakespeare and even Indian Bollywood – yep it’s a grand slam madcap musical comedy at its finest- and ya did a “marvy” job on that set too Darko! The “McGuffin” – twins- ya know the story- think Twain’s “Prince and the Pauper”, Haley Mills “Parent Trap” – You know “TWINS”- Schwarzenegger and DeVito!! No? How about the “Patty Duke Show” – “They laugh alike, they walk alike, At times they even talk alike — You can lose your mind”!! Good- you get the idea- here it’s two set of twins- Antipholus of Syracuse, his twin Antipholus of Ephesus and their servants Dromio of Syracuse and Dromio of Ephesus- whoooo! (btw- yep both Mr. A’s and Mr. D’s have the same name – hmmm?) – add a set of twins into the midst of anything, throw in a plot twist or five and its a Nielsen or Rotten Tomato ratings hit- here it’s pure madcap musical madness worthy of a Tony- watch out for lost gold chains, rings, eye glasses, flying beach balls and long lost mamas and papas- oh my!
Our players- yep another blame game – this time it’s Johanna, Johanna Johanna!- the absolutely enchanting Johanna Morrison, our “Mother Courage”, she literally “Lights Up”‘ the entire production as the “oh so celestial” purple robe adorned abbess of the priory in Ephesus. Miss Morrison you ARE “Royalty”- we just love ya!! As for the nimblest actor I have ever met that honor goes to Mr. Noble Shropshire- he shines as Egeon – the wayward merchant from Syracuse- father of lost sons. Noble scrambles one way than another throughout the production in search of “Almes” – at one point literally hanging on to the side of the stage. I actually wanted to add a “fiver”, to his empty cup, as he traveled about seeking aide to save his life- bravo Noble!
A tip of my mackinaw to our stalwart cast including the duel Antipholus’s- Tyler Lansing Weaks and Ryan-James Hatanaka; the Duel Dromio’s, Alan Schmuckler and Matthew Macca.
A Howard’s Golden Globe goes to the gorgeous Paula Leggett Chase, portraying a ahem “Courtesan” she sets the entire tone of the production with her alluring “Never On a Sunday”- btw you forgot to give me your card! Not to be forgotten – both Jolly Abraham as the shrewish “Adriana” and Makira Kakkar as her unmarried sister “Luciana” – bravo to you both- from cat fights to your Bollywood dancing- your onstage hijinks are a delight to watch! At times the entire cast reminds one of a Gidget/Moondoggie/Annette beach romp x two – the only one missing is Vincent Price with a skewer of shish kabobs! Surf’s Up!
Dear readers – you get the pic- this is a truly “Divine” inspiration here- this production is what we ALL so wholeheartedly need in these darkest of times- in the words of “Gidget” – “Oh boy, the bigger they are the dopier they come”. Ain’t that too true- no “error” there! Enjoy!
Tickets for the Hartford Stage production of “The Comedy of Errors” are on sale now and can be purchased by calling (860) 527-5151 or by visiting http://www.hartfordstage.org. Weeknight and evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Matinee performances are Saturdays, Sundays and select weekdays at 2 p.m. Saturday’s at 8pm.
Howard Steven Frydman is General Manager and Executive Director of BATV – Channels 5, 95 & 96 and a member of the CCC. Please feel free to contact Mr. Frydman with your thoughts and ideas at Howardbatv@aol.com