When The Bomb-itty of Errors first burst onto the scene in Vancouver two years ago, it was not only number five on my top ten list of shows that year, it also took home a couple of Jessie Awards including one for Significant Artistic Achievement in the small theatre category. Fast forward a couple of years and the same “dream team” are back in a re-mount at the Arts Club’s Revue Stage on Granville Island, and while much of what made it such a critical and audience success remains, it is true that you do remember your first.
[pullquote]Kaye and Koupantsis are in particularly fine form once again as the brothers Dromio and the combo of Parker and Koupantsis as the sisters Adriana and Luciana is one of the funniest things you will see on stage this year.[/pullquote]Based on Shakespeares’s ridiculous comedy of mistaken identities, Comedy of Errors is the perfect target for this hip-hop version from Jordan Allen-Dutton, Jason Catalano, GQ, and Erik Weiner. Retaining much of the Bard’s original Comedy of Errors text, the show gets a modern makeover by mixing it with original music and a live DJ on the set.
Returning to the Bomb-itty stage are David A Kaye, Jameson Parker, Brian Cochrane and Niko Koupantsis, a quartet whose infectious energy apparently knows no bounds. Kaye and Koupantsis are in particularly fine form once again as the brothers Dromio and the combo of Parker and Koupantsis as the sisters Adriana and Luciana is one of the funniest things you will see on stage this year.
With all of its returning strengths though, the play still begins to drag about three-quarters of the way through. This is mitigated somewhat by fixing the biggest problem from the 2012 version where virtually impossible costume changes left huge gaps in the action, but there is also a sense of being part of something special that is absent. Part of that feeling comes from moving from the intimate set-up of Studio 16 that put the audience up-close-and-personal, to the more traditional setting of the Revue Stage. Director Catriona Leger tries hard to bring back some of that intimacy by breaking down the fourth wall at every opportunity and even goes as far as having two of her actors chase each other through the audience.
Costume designer Vanessa Imeson, who took home a Jessie for her work in the original production, returns with her brilliantly colourful mash-up of Shakespeare, Run DMC, Nicki Minaj and LMFAO, and Ian Schimpf captures nicely the look and feel of Jonathan Tsang’s original set design.
Fearing that much of my reaction to this new production was largely due to comparisons made to the original, my guest on opening night, who had not seen the original production, concluded that while the show was enjoyable it did not live up to its hype.
While the infectious energy that literally overflows from the stage makes this second visit with Bomb-itty of Errors worthwhile, it really is true that you will always remember your first.
By Jordan Allen-Dutton, Jason Catalano, Gregory J Qaiyum, Erik Weiner and Jeffrey Qaiyum. Originally produced by Twenty Something Theatre and Temporary Thing. An Arts Club Theatre Company production. On stage at the Revue Stage on Granville Island through May 10, 2014. Visit https://artsclub.com for tickets and information.