The Phoenix Theatre production of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors offers audiences an updated and upbeat rendition of this classic tale. Photo by David Lowes/Courtesy Phoenix Theatre

REVIEW: The Phoenix presents Shakespeare with a wacky twist

Sheila Martindale offers her take on The Comedy of Errors, running through March 24

Sheila Martindale

Monday Magazine contributor

At the University of Victoria’s Phoenix Theatre right now, you can see Shakespeare performed like never before: to rap and hip-hop, with bells and whistles, with the man himself as a drag queen; it’s Shakespeare with no holds barred. The Bard would probably turn over in his grave.

Having said that, this is a really good production – energetic, peppy, with perfect timing and great singing. It was, after all, written as a farce. I mean – two sets of identical twins, separated by a shipwreck when they were young, growing up in different countries, and suddenly being in the same place at the same time by mere coincidence. This is when the mistaken identities begin, with the brothers all being taken for each other. Pretty far-fetched, even when performed according to the text.

Director Jeffrey Renn has played fast and loose with The Comedy of Errors, and has come up with a surprisingly good show. Brendan Elwell and Douglas Peerless play the parts of the two Antipholus brothers – did I mention that they have the same name? – anyway, they do it very well. The brothers Dromio have the comic relief roles and they are handled perfectly by Chantal Gallant and Emma Grabinsky, making the most of every ridiculous situation. Nathan Patterson stands out in the female role of Luce, in six-inch stiletto heels!

Every actor is good in this madcap cast and there are too many of them for much detail here. Suffice it to say there is not a weak link in the entire group. That has to include the creative crew also, who had their work cut out for them in this off-the-wall production. Christine Penhale does a brilliant job with choreography on this busy small stage, and Jivan Bains-Wood deserves special mention as costume designer for this crazy production.

So, if you are happy to see a different Shakespeare, where liberties are taken with the original script, make a point of seeing The Comedy of Errors, which runs at the Phoenix until March 24. For tickets click here or call 250-721-8003.

Just Posted

Canada’s country music sweetheart brings The Gumboot Kids to town

Jessie Farrell to perform songs from her hit CBC TV series at McTavish Academy of Arts

VIFF wrap-up: Finely crafted films part of festival finale

Monday reviewer Kyle Wells puts a cap on his 2018 Vancouver International Film Festival experience

FILM REVIEWS: Race relations, refugees and racy romances featured at VIFF

Monday reviewer Kyle Wells presents round 2 from the Vancouver International Film Fest

An eye for art: The new and the notable at fall’s premier arts event

Sidney Fine Art Show shares wealth of Island talent Oct. 11 to 13

Astrocolor bringing unique funk-synth sound to the Capital Ballroom

Victoria band known for their festival shows making a rare appearance on their home turf

VIDEO: Ballet Kelowna brings steamy story, A Streetcar Named Desire, to Island

Okanagan ballet company brings a classic tale to the Cowichan Valley

INDY FILM FARE: 1970s hedonism and more at The Vic Theatre

From Studio 54 to Rocky Horror, there’s plenty of excess to observe this month

Shark-attack metal band coming to Victoria tonight

Shark Infested Daughters, a Calgary metalcore group, play the Upstairs Cabaret tonight, Oct. 13

STAGE AND SONG: Spotlight on Victoria arts groups

Learn about some of the city’s favourite theatre and musical entertainment options

Island lensman Jim Decker lands three top photography awards

During exciting photo trip to Yap in Micronesia, Cobble Hill man earns trio of firsts

Celebrate Oktoberfest Stein and Dine at the Victoria Public Market

Food, suds and German-style fun on tap at Oct. 20 event

Most Read