Aug 21, 2018
by Alexa Chipman
Shakespeare’s popular tale of shenanigans in ‘The Comedy of Errors’ is the result of two pairs of twins being mistaken for each other while gadding about town. Merchants, families and citizens are driven to panic by the seeming madness taking hold of Ephesus. Expensive jewelry goes missing, a bachelor finds himself inexplicably married, and flustered conversations based on miscommunication build to the tumultuous conclusion with a wild chase through the audience, ranging up and down the open field at the Cannery ruins.
Based in physical comedy, rather than clever exchanges, fart jokes and ‘The Three Stooges’ style of humor is not for everyone. Director Jared Sakren does not shy away from cruel beatings given to servants, and although David Barker and Marty Pistone’s fight choreography is engaging, there are moments when it becomes uncomfortably intense. The two Dromios, Jared Wright andSam Coughlin, bear the brunt of abuse, doing so with resigned loyalty and acrobatic feats, crawling and leaping beneath the blows. Their comradeship with Antipholus (William J. Brown III and Ariel Zuckerman) becomes flawless teamwork in the final act.
Enthusiastic supporter of romance, Luciana (Isabella Sakren) is determined to ignore her sister’s sage advice regarding relationships. Swept away in the confusion, she manages to keep an open heart, despite strange events turning Ephesus into playful chaos.Jessica Headington’s Adriana is furious with her husband’s apparent coldness, and confidently seeks to mend his ways. When trifling faults turn into actual danger, the depth of love she has for Antipholus is revealed, and she does not hesitate to step in as a true partner. Headington’s transition from superficial exasperation to genuine concern is an intriguing journey for the audience.
‘The Comedy of Errors’ opens with what can be dull backstory, narrated by Egeon. Albert Casselhoff’s sound design of crashing waves and foghorns mingled with Kit Grimm’s engrossing storytelling keeps the tone animated, assisted by Sakren’s direction of the ensemble’s amusing reactions.
Pamela Johnson’s costume designs are a mix of tailored Edwardian and bawdy Renaissance peasants, perhaps trying to show the class gap between characters. The gowns and suits are lovely, particularly Adriana’s purple day dress. Indicating locations, oversized doors loom over the stage, by Conor Woods, making it easy to recognize where the action of each scene is taking place.
6th Street Playhouse’s ‘The Comedy of Errors’ is a satisfactory, conservative staging with an exemplary cast demonstrating the flamboyant physicality of Shakespeare’s beloved play.
Presented by 6th Street Playhouse
through September 2, 2018
Fri/Sat/Sun at 7:00pm (Gates open at 5:00pm)
52 W. 6th Street, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Photos by Eric Chazankin
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