The title Comedy of Errors does not do Shakespeare’s farce justice in light of the freeFall Theatre Company’s interpretation. Though suggesting the key idea of the play, it could never convey the sheer hilarity and exuberance that Eric Davis brought to it. By the show’s end, you may even find yourself cursing him for the aching gut and cheek muscles. However, once you remember the brilliant performance and stage set, forgiveness is certainly feasible.
The streets of Ephesus were brought to life in the form of any regular American neighborhood. Adding both an extra sense of humor, from cleverly named coffee shops to blatantly funny street signs, and familiarity. The amity between set and audience evoked even more sincere and boisterous laughter. As Davis points out, with a setting that we could easily place ourselves in, the events of the play “become even more improbable, silly, and funny.” That element allows the show to be more cohesive all the way around. It makes the acting more lively, the Shakespearean language easier to understand, and the audience’s interaction with one another as well as the actors more enjoyable.
Comedy of Errors describes the unlikely meeting of two sets of twins separated at a young age due to a tragic shipwreck. Inconveniently, both have the same names; one set christened Dromio, and the other Antipholus. In an attempt to reconcile with his past and unite with his long lost kin, Antipholus of Syracuse journeys to his brother’s hometown of Ephesus unknowingly, accompanied by his faithful servant Dromio. The four brothers cross paths on numerous occasions, which leads to accidentally flirting with forbidden women and repeatedly beating the wrong servant. That, and many other shenanigans unfold.
Though, the Comedy of Errors is by no means Shakespeare’s most transcendent play, freeFall brings such gaiety to it that your time will be well-spent, despite it’s frivolity. Between two Antipholi and two Dromios, the Miller and Rescigno twins performed their roles inimitably. The brothers brought Shakespeare’s irony to an entirely new level. The moment the Dromio and Antipholus of Syracuse set foot on their brothers’ homeland of Ephesus you anticipate the best, but then you realize that it only gets better. Both sets of twins convey their exhaustive confusion so brilliantly that at certain moments, I was very nearly falling out of my chair. Aside from the twins, we witness wonderful performances by Alison Burns, Adriana (wife of Antipholus of Ephesus) and Alexandra Jennings, Luciana (Sister-in-law to Antipholus of Ephesus). Both play into the farce, with their own befuddlement and rebuff for the Antipholi. The acting in this play was just one of the many impressive elements to this show, but certainly my favorite.
The set work, directing, acting, and staging of this show was fantastic. There was not a moment that my attention was broken. The uninhibited enthusiasm from the actors could not have made for a better show. I highly recommend seeing freeFall’s current production, A Christmas Carol (a new musical) that will be showing until December 30, 2011.