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

WINE NOTES: Discovering valuable Spanish gems

Check out the Spain section of your local wine store, recommends Monday expert Robert Moyes

Victoria’s Oktoberfest brings out the Bavarian in all of us

Stein and Dine at Victoria Public Market celebrates German food, beverages, culture on Oct. 19

Restaurant Review: Authentic Mexican molé hits the spot

Restaurante la Tortilla Mexicana’s hearty, spicy sauce works well over enchiladas, writes Allan Reid

REVIEW: Mullins’ Weaksauce hits the mark, like a good hockey pass

UVic Fine Arts alumni and frequent CBC writer’s biographical storytelling show here through Oct. 19

Two local authors walk away with Victoria Book Prize

Kathy Page and Aidan Cassie each walked away with a literary award

Fashion Fridays: How to pose in photos

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra launches new season

First up: Celebrating the Concerto on Oct. 27

Trudeau to appear on Jessi Cruickshank’s Facebook Watch show ‘New Mom, Who Dis?’

Federal Liberal leader to do sit-down interview with Canadian media personality on Wednesday

‘Joker’ laughs its way to October box office record

Warner Bros. said “Joker” grossed an estimated $93.5 million in ticket sales from 4,374 screens in North America

Ginger Baker, Cream’s volatile drummer, dies at 80

Baker wielded blues power and jazz technique to help break open popular music in the 1960s

‘Interesting mixture of emotions’: Scott Moir reflects on final tour with Tessa Virtue

Multiple Olympic ice dance gold medallists skating through B.C. during the Rock the Rink tour

It’s onward and upward for Victoria gelato artisan

After winning Gelato Festival gold, Stefano Mosi will compete at North American finals in 2020

Most Read