I’ve seen quite a few productions at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company at this point and my favorites, by far, are the comedies. Cincy Shakes does everything well, but any time they set their talents to the task of tackling a comedy I always leave the theater in tears…from laughing SO hard!
‘The Comedy of Errors‘ lived up to my expectations in the laughter department, and then some. Truth be told, any time Justin McCombs and Jeremy Dubin walk onto a stage together I know I’m in for a treat. These two incredibly talented men have quickly become favorites of mine in the Cincinnati theater scene and I look forward to seeing them take the stage at every opportunity. The entire cast of ‘Comedy’ brought their very best to this production and I was sincerely grateful to have been in the audience for this show.
If you aren’t familiar with the story, ‘The Comedy of Errors‘ tells the story of mistaken identity –
“The Comedy of Errors” is Shakespeare’s earliest and wackiest comedy and features not one, but TWO sets of identical twins, leading to twice the confusion, and twice the fun. Twin masters Antipholus and Antipholus (Justin McCombs and Josh Katawik) and their twin servants Dromio and Dromio (Jeremy Dubin and Paul Riopelle), separated at birth and each unknown to the other, just happen to end up in the same town on the same day. What ensues is an increasingly unlikely string of misunderstandings and mistaken identities as the twins unintentionally wreak havoc on each other’s lives.
I have to say, I wish I had taken my kids to see this production. It is a perfect introduction to Shakespeare for the uninitiated or for those who are intimidated by Shakespearean verse. While they stick to the original Shakespearean script, the staging and amazing acting abilities of the company make it incredibly easy to follow along even when the original verse gets a bit hard to follow. If you are looking for an opportunity to introduce your older children to Shakespeare in a way that will make them interested in learning more, this is the show! (disclaimer: There are a few references to more “mature” subject matter, but they are fleeting and mild.)
Adding to the accessibility of this show is the fact that it’s not placed in far off renaissance Italy or England…it’s set in America in “a stylish vintage carnival in a mythical seaside resort of “Ephesus” in the early 1930’s.” Strong man, bearded lady, half man/half woman, gypsy fortuneteller, and carnival clowns take the stage to become part of this amazing production giving it a more relatable feeling for younger audiences.
Did I mention the fantastic acting? Justin McCombs and Jeremy Dubin play Antipholus and Dromio alongside Josh Katawik and Paul Riopelle (who looks and acts so much like Jeremy Dubin that I was fooled for a minute!) also as Antipholus and Dromio. All four men do an amazing job of keeping up with the madness of mistaken identity. Miranda McGee and Maggie Lou Rader as Adriana and her sister are amazing, strong female characters who take charge of the stage and hold up against the craziness of the dueling and constantly shifting twins with spitfire and determination.
Add in the talents of Billy Chace, Brent Vimtrup, and the rest of the fantastic ensemble and you’ve got a must-see, hilarious, fast-paced and brilliant show that will have you leaving the theatre wanting more.
It all boils down to this: If you get the chance then please go see ‘The Comedy of Errors‘ at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. Actually, MAKE the chance to see it…it’s worth it!
Performances of “The Comedy of Errors” are scheduled from November 21- December 13, 2014 on Thursday, Friday & Saturday evenings at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm with an additional Saturday matinees on Nov. 29 and Dec. 13. Preview performances are on Wednesday Nov. 19 and Thursday Nov. 20 at 7:30pm and tickets are $21. No performance on Thursday Nov. 27. The theater is located at 719 Race Street, downtown Cincinnati, two blocks west of the Aronoff Center. Single ticket prices range from $22-$32 on Thursdays and Sundays and from $26-$36 on Fridays and Saturdays. This show is a part of the 2014-2015 subscription season. If available, $14 student rush tickets may be purchased 30 minutes before a show with a valid student ID. Visa, Discover, MasterCard, and American Express are accepted. Ticketing fees may apply. Discounts are available for students, seniors and groups as well as AAA members. To purchase tickets or for more information, call the CSC Box Office at 513.381.BARD (2273) ext. 1, or go online at www.cincyshakes.com.
*All Photo credit goes to Mikki Schaffner Photography.