Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Photo by Karl Hugh/Utah Shakespeare Festival 2014 Chris Amos (left) as Antipholus of Syracuse and Aaron Galligan-Stierle as Dromio of Syracuse in the Utah Shakespeare Festivalís 2014 production of "The Comedy of Errors."
Utah Shakespeare Festival review: ‘The Comedy of Errors’ is frenetic and funny
‘The Comedy of Errors’ » Translating Shakespeare to the Wild West adds to madcap flavor.
First Published Jul 05 2014 01:01 am • Last Updated Aug 07 2014 02:12 pm

Cedar City • Midway through Utah Shakespeare Festival’s madcap production of "The Comedy of Errors," Antipholus of Syracuse asks, "Am I in Earth, in Heaven or in Hell? Sleeping or waking? Mad or well advised? Known unto these, and to myself disguised!" It’s a logical question in this most illogical universe, where appearances are deceiving and no one seems to know even who anyone else is.

"The Comedy of Errors" is Shakespeare’s most frantic farce. He lifted the plot from Plautus’ Roman comedy "Menechmi," where a set of twins — named Antipholus here — get into trouble by being endlessly mistaken for each other. To double the fun, he added another set of twins, the Dromios, who are their servants, so that not only the townspeople but even the masters and servants get confused.

At a glance

Dromio, Dromio

Utah Shakespeare Festival’s “The Comedy of Errors” is frantic fun and a great way to introduce younger family members to Shakespeare.

When » Reviewed June 30; continues in rotating repertory with two other productions Mondays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees, through Aug. 30

Where » Adams Shakespearean Theatre at the Utah Shakespeare Festival on the campus of Southern Utah University, 300 West and Center Street, Cedar City. Matinees are in the Auditorium Theatre.

Tickets » $32 to $73, with discounts for groups, students and seniors. Tickets and information available at 800-PLAYTIX (752-9849) or www.bard.org

Running time » Two hours (including an intermission)

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The play’s hodgepodge construction offers endless comic possibilities and opens the door to improvisation and reinvention, and director Brad Carroll has chosen to Americanize this production by setting it in San Francisco during the Gold Rush.

Apart from an overdone prologue and some extraneous gags in the first act, this reimagining works remarkably well. The characters’ Western drawl actually reinforces the cadences in Shakespeare’s dialogue and helps you distinguish between the sets of twins — as strangers to Ephesus, Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse don’t have accents. This production has the fresh, spontaneous feel of something being invented as you watch. The errant tumbleweed that refuses to tumble just adds to the fun.

This production delivers pairs of Antipholi and Dromios that are so well matched physically and comically that it’s hard to tell them apart. Drew Shirley’s Antipholus of Ephesus is savvier and more manipulative than Chris Amos’ Antipholus of Syracuse, but both are equally inventive.

Misha Fristensky and Aaron Galligan-Stierle are hilarious as the Dromios. Galligan-Stierle’s greater stage experience gives him the edge in milking comic bits for laughs, and his description of the overly amorous Nell is especially funny. Adriana, Antipholus of Ephesus’ long-suffering wife, is often portrayed as a whining wimp, but Cassandra Bissell brilliantly fleshes her out, adding not only fire but heart. As her sister, Eva Balistrieri is the quintessential Southern lady.

Roderick Peeples concocts an ingenious way of making Egeon’s long opening speech entertaining and his later lament, "not know my voice!" more meaningful and poignant. John G. Preston’s Pinch is a shameless charlatan, and Jonathan Smoots creates a laconic, but authoritative, sheriff, while Kathleen Brady steals the show as a shotgun-wielding abbess.

Carroll directs the mayhem with comic, but controlled, abandon, even devising a way to keep some long speeches from slowing down the momentum. Vicki M. Smith’s wooden storefront set looks as if it were lifted from a 1950s TV Western. David Kay Mickelsen’s period costumes add style and color, and Paul James Prendergast’s honkytonk piano music bridges scenes and adds funky flavor.

This production of "The Comedy of Errors" is a rollicking romp from start to finish.




Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.