Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s “The Comedy of Errors” is a Doppelganger-filled Delight
Review by Molly Alderson
Friday, April 8th marked the opening night of Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s The Comedy of Errors directed by Jeremy Dublin. The modern twist on the classic Shakespearian production is delightful and the perfect blend of old and new. It illuminates Shakespeare’s earliest play with modern layers mixed with the traditional delivery of iambic pentameter. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company should be commended for its dedication to the craft and ability to evolve classics to cater to a new audience of theatergoers.
The play opens in the city of Ephesus (a beautiful Las Vegas-inspired Casino.) WE are introduced to Egeon (Stephan Wolfert), a merchant from Syracuse, who has been captured and sentenced to death by Solinus (Michael Bath), the Duke of Ephesus because of enmity between the two cities (Ephesus and Syracuse). Egeon explains to Solunus that he is on a quest to find his wife and twin sons who were separated from him during a shipwreck twenty-five years ago.
This plotline is crucial for the audience to understand as it is the premise of the entire play. Therefore, Projection designers (Justen N. Locke and Robert Carlton Stimmel) thoughtfully incorporate illustrations to showcase the scene via projector while Egeon delivered his complex dialogue. Another example of how CSC helps audiences understand the difficult dialogue. Locke is also Lighting Designer and Scenic Design is by Samantha Reno.
We then are introduced to Antipholus of Syracuse (A.S) (Crystian Wiltshire) and Dromio of Syracuse (D.S) (Justin McCombs) through a slap-stick travel journey-montage as they also arrive in Ephesus to continue their search for the other half of their family. Little do they know that their father, Egeon, is in the same city on the same mission. A local merchant (in this case, a Vegas-stage hand) tells the brothers to dress in disguise, otherwise, they will be sentenced to death because they are from Syracuse. The brothers oblige – and here’s where the confusion and mayhem really kick in.
Now in disguise, Antipholus of Syracuse is confused for his twin brother Antipholus of Ephesus (Charles Gidney) (A.E) by A.E’s wife, the beautiful Adriana (Kelly Mengelkoch).
The who’s who mistakes and mishaps continue to unfold through Act II. While the nuances of the play are challenging to follow, the cast is able to keep the audience engaged throughout, with commanding stage presence and the use of impeccable physical comedy skills. The audience is glued to the stage, trying to not miss a beat, and roaring with excitement and laughter.
Without revealing too much of the show, it has… a happy ending.
The opening night audience, however, was not ready for the show to be ending. We could watch the performers all night and as a result, provided a well-deserved standing ovation to the talented cast and crew.
It may be challenging to convince friends and family (who aren’t already Shakespeare lovers) to see this or any CSC production. Shakespeare can be intimidating, but THIS CSC production is anything but intimidating. It has a little bit of everything, for everyone, and an easy introduction to the brilliance of Shakespeare. If your friends need some prodding to see a Shakespeare production, this should be it. They’ll laugh, be amazed by the beautiful set design and… maybe even leave with a newfound appreciation.
Check out Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s The Comedy of Errors now through April 30th, 2022. For more information about the show or to purchase tickets, visit: https://cincyshakes.com.
Molly Alderson is an advertising professional. She is a Wittenberg University alum, where she attended on a theatre scholarship. Molly has performed in both theatre, dance and improv groups across the country. She loves attending live performances and hopes her passion for writing will inspire others to get back to the theatre, as well.