The Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble, adds a new twist and shout to an old play.
Even when watching a play, it can be hard to turn off the analytical part of the brain we use all day for work or study. I know I usually spend the majority of a show looking for parallels between theatre and life that shed light on the mysteries of human psychology (yeah, not everyone likes going to the theatre with me). The Bomb-itty of Errors was a refreshing ice cube down the back, since it served as a reminder that sometimes theatre doesn’t need to have any deeper layers. Theatre is, in fact, allowed to be pure fun.
Based on Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors, where two sets of twins, separated at birth, find themselves in the same, small town – cue mistaken identity and mayhem – this show is a fast-paced fusion of Shakespeare and hip-hop.
I did originally intend to write this review with a hip hop beat: It’s Shakespeare with different parameters. Get with the times. It’s at hip-hop rhymes. Not iambic pentameter’… I soon gave up. It’s harder than it looks.
Very little of the original text remains in this production as the story is told almost entirely through song and dance, but the Bard would surely have approved of the many up-to-date crass jokes and audience participation. To further enhance the hip-hop vibe, there was a classic three-house set, very reminiscent of the Greek theatrical tradition, painted by vibrant, local street artists, Will Power and Lonneke Lacassen.
Beyond the entertaining story, it was fun to sit back and simply marvel at the sheer number of words tumbling out of the actors’ mouths, the impeccable timing with which they executed their dances and the whirlwind of entrances, exists and quick-changes. The actors playing the twins juggled multiple personas: Colin Smith and Silvan Rus played three roles, Luke Cadden and Zac Kelly each played two. BIG props to Zac for keeping everything running smoothly as performer, director and choreographer. Also of note was, QSE’s Artistic Director, Rob Pensalfini’s entertaining cameo as Dr Pinch, a Rastafarian herbal doctor; Pensalfini’s love of Rastafarian music shone through in his clear enjoyment of this role.
While I remain a committed and unapologetic traditionalist when it comes to Shakespeare, The Bomb-itty of Errors was a thoroughly enjoyable, energetic night at the theatre.
The Bomb-itty of Errors played at the Geoffrey Rush Drama Studio from 24 February to 8 March.