Saturday, July 6, 2013

Review: (Ottawa) Comedy of Errors

The Wild West
by Robyn Lester

Thursday night I braved the ominous looking skies and headed to Lisgar Field, outside of City Hall, to check out Bear and Co.’s western-themed performance of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors.  Anticipating an absolute downpour, I brought my umbrella and hunkered down on the grass expecting the worst.  But, as luck would have it, the skies cleared just moments before the show started and I was able to fully enjoy a delightful evening of Shakespeare in the park!

Under the direction of Anna Lewis, the entire cast did a fantastic job carrying out this western-themed comedy.  Occasionally it was a little hard to hear since theatre in the round, a wonderful concept for an indoor space, didn’t function as well outdoors.  But all in all, it was a great performance.  The fight scenes, choreographed by John Brogan and Chris McLeod, stand out in my mind as incredibly well executed.  As well, the vocal arrangements by Rachel Eugster added that little something extra to really help give the production a western vibe.  

I would suggest re-familiarizing yourself with The Comedy of Errors before going to see it.  It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize that Michelle LeBlanc was actually playing both the local and visiting Antipholus. Admittedly, it was a little confusing that those two roles were played by the same person, yet visiting Dromeo and local Dromeo were played by two different actors (David Benedict Brown and David Whiteley, respectively).

This was the first time I’ve watched an outdoor play.  And I must say, I really enjoyed the casual and relaxed atmosphere.  The park venue is always sure to add some unexpected surprises, but the actors did a great job rolling with the punches.  When a loose dog ran into their performance space, they didn’t miss a beat and just improvised their way through it.   

I’d recommend going to see this. It’s been far too long since I’ve watched a Shakespeare play, and this was a nice reminder of how much fun it can be.  

Just a brief side-note: in lieu of tickets, this show relies on pass-the-hat donations.  Suggested donation is $15.
Comedy of Errors runs to August 5

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