Sunday, January 24, 2016

reviews - THE COMEDY OF ERRORS - Southwest Shakespeare Company

Tony Latham, Jeremiah James, Gary Keast, Beau Heckman,
Wyatt Kent, and William Wilson
Photo by Mark Gluckman
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)
Click here for more information on this production that runs through January 31st.

 "...Southwest Shakespeare Company scored a hit earlier in the season with their idea to move The Merry Wives of Windsor into the sitcom era of the 1950s, their current production of The Comedy of Errors that moves the location to 1980s Miami is less successful.  Shakespeare's comedy follows Egeon, a man searching for his lost wife and twin sons...Mistaken identity and confusion abounds in what is one of Shakespeare's lightest and shortest plays. Director Pasha Yamotahari has updated the setting to the sun-drenched Miami beaches and city streets and while the colorful and exotic locale and zany characters would seem to fit well with one of Shakespeare's most farcical shows, the execution doesn't quite succeed. This is partly due to the Bard's language, which includes puns, jokes, and wordplay that don't really hold up well today, and also because of Yamotahari's decision to include slapstick that is too forced and a stream of updated supporting characters who aren't funny or remotely related to the Miami setting. For example, what do a Doctor who uses sock puppets on his hands when he speaks, a tap-dancing nun, a drag queen, a gangster, and a Harley Davidson guy with a chainsaw have to do with Miami? Perhaps the drag queen stumbled in from The Birdcage but the rest just don't make any sense. After a short time the entire idea and execution turn into a joke that wears too thin, too fast. The cast throw themselves into the parts, but with only partial success. Tony Latham and William Wilson are energetic and even outrageous at points as the servant twins Dromio, ...Emily Mohney is shrewish and expressive as the agitated and fiery wife of one of the twins and, as her sister, Melody Knudson is very comical and effective as a love-struck woman who is also very confused when she finds herself being wooed by a man she believes is her brother-in-law ....Yamotahari is a gifted comedic director, as his spotless execution of last season's One Man, Two Guvnors at Phoenix Theatre proved, so it's a bit of a disappointment that he isn't able to transfer his proficient comedic skills into one of Shakespeare's most accessible comedies. In the end, the colorful characters work but the forced comedy doesn't, though the play still comes across as a bright and breezy romp."  -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

"...Director Pasha Yamotahari has transported the action to Miami’s South Beach in the 1980s, a delightfully ridiculous premise for an equally ridiculous setup. Unfortunately, the entire affair goes off the rails, and fast....throws way too many ideas into the mix, hoping that some of them will stick to the wall. ...Taking every moment over the top and then over it again, this production is simply trying too hard."  - Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic (click here to read the complete review)

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