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vancouverplays review


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The Bomb-itty of Errors

By Jordan Allan-Dutton et al
The Temporary Thing/Twenty-Something Theatre
Studio 16, 1555 W. 7th Ave.
April 5-22
$12.50-$25 at

Here’s Jerry’s review of the original Temporary Thing/Twenty-Something Theatre production from 2012.

Here’s some Shakespeare,/The purists better get outta here,/I’m rhymin’ for my life, I fear/The Province gonna forsake me,/My editor gonna make me disappear.

Oh dear.

I thought about trying to rap this entire review but puttin’ down those mad rhymes is even harder than writing in iambic pentameter. So props to the five NYU students who wrote The Bomb-itty of Errors in 1999. What they called their ad-rap-tation of Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors has been a hit across the US and the UK ever since.

And put yo hands in the air for the team at little Studio 16 that care and dare to do the Vancity premiere. That be Twenty-Something Theatre and The Temporary Thing that bring it here.

Okay, I’ll stop. It’s hard to, though, after seeing this show. It’s so much fun it’s contagious. It’s outrageous. The Bard that’s so hard on the page, such a beast, is easy here, at least to the hip-hop ear.

Enough. But it’s tough... It’s really tough on the four actors—David A. Kaye, Jameson Parker, Brian Cochrane and Niko Koupantsis—who have to play all the roles: not just Shakespeare’s two sets of twins (masters named Antipholus, servants named Dromio) but all the wives, girlfriends, nuns, cops, mediums and hookers who can’t tell them apart.

They rap non-stop to the onstage beats of DJ Oker Chen and the original music of Anami Vice. They make many, many quick changes in and out of Vanessa Imeson’s colourful, carnivalesque costumes on Jonathan Tsang’s elegantly simple set. They make their naughty, bawdy way through Shakespeare’s silly plot under Catriona Leger’s imaginative direction.

None of these boyz is much of a threat to Eminem (or even Vanilla Ice) but what’s nice is their character work. Each has at least one standout role. Parker plays Adriana, his own twin’s wife, with sultry muscularity. Kaye is an athletic, break-dancing Dromio and the best rapper of the bunch. Koupantsis shines as dumb, sexy sister Luciana with a wig like a large yellow dog bone. And Cochrane is wonderfully offensive as the Jewish jeweler, MC Hendleberg: “Shalomie to my homies!”

I love this show for being totally smart and anti-intellectual at the same time, for having such a high fun quotient, and for bringing to live theatre the under-30 demographic that doesn’t normally go.                   

So if you felt like a fool/When they taught Shakespeare in school/And ya didn’t wanna go near it,/Here’s your chance to see it and hear it/ And get in the spirit/Without havin’ to fear it.

And you can have a beer with it.                                                                                                                                

Jerry Wasserman