Bomb-itty of Errors
"Bomb-itty of Errors" would have made The Bard himself smile. Somewhere along the line, Mr. Shakespeare became embarrassingly misunderstood -- kind of like Chaucer actually. Shakespeare wrote for the people. Think network primetime, not PBS. But somehow the Old English got people confused and the work gets treated so preciously as to become unrecognizable.
But this show is a hip-hop version of Shakespeare’s "Comedy of Errors." There’s no reason to reread that sentence. It does indeed take the classic farce and set it to a hip-hop score. It doesn’t do it word for word or even scene for scene, for sure. But some of the language does remain amidst the modern framing. The result is an hour and twenty minutes of theater pleasure.
"Comedy of Errors" is about quadruplets who are separated at birth only to end up in the same town many years later. When they do, they are mistaken for one another time and again giving way to all sorts of misunderstandings and mayhem.
Mishap after mishap occurs as identities are mistaken, wrongful beatings are administered, seductions are attempted, and arrests and false accusations are made. Madness, adultery, thievery and possession are all in there -- all the ingredients needed for a delicious physical comedy.
The set for Second Thought Theater’s production is a deceivingly simple one. A scaffolding has been built upstage, providing two levels for the show’s action. But it also provides a wealth of entrances and exists where the cast can slip in and out of the trouble they find themselves getting in.
Which brings me to the key to this show: the cast. Each of the four cast members plays a variety of characters, including women, where the comedic talent of Zac Kelty truly shines. Drew Wall plays Dromio Of Syracuse, Desi and Dr. P. Joseph Holt takes on Antipholus Of Ephesus, Adriana and Bobby. Zac Kelty shines as Dromio Of Ephesus, Luciana and the Cop. And Steven Michael Walters commands the stage as Antipholus Of Syracuse, Hendelberg and the Abbess.
Kelty could give Jack Black a run for his money when to comes to physical comedy and comedic timing. And Walters is so ridiculously talented that he could carry this show on his own if he had to. But lucky for him, that’s not necessary. I can’t think of a better example of an ensemble show as this. And these guys work together seamlessly, on-stage and off, as the quick changes backstage require all hands on deck.
The equal parts hot and talented Brittany Noll served as the on-stage DJ, dropping the beats and occasionally interacting with the guys. Even the audience gets pulled in with requests to rap, clap and laugh, although the latter needed no additional provocation. The madness on stage was more than enough.
This show is not serious. In fact, it teeters on the edge of ridiculous and is even a teeny bit racist at times. But the cast is seriously talented. And the mockery is all in good fun as no one is left unscathed.
What makes this production of "Bomb-itty of Errors" so much fun is that the cast commits to the show (and their performances in it) unequivocally, that goes double for Walters and Kelty. And the more the audience commits to it too, the higher the enjoyment quotient goes up.
If you love Shakespeare, see it. If you hate or never understood Shakespeare, see it. If you don’t think four white boys (really, really white boys) can effectively rap, see it. And if you love those "rap" videos that Andy Samberg et al make for "Saturday Night Live," definitely see it. I think our boys here could take those guys on any day... (Want proof? See the show’s trailer here).
"Bomb-itty of Errors" runs through August 22 at Bryant Hall on the Kalita Humphreys Theatre campus, 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd., in Dallas. For info or tickets, visit http://secondthoughttheatre.com