The Comedy of Errors
A strongman, a ventriloquist, three showgirls and a mimic with 1,000 voices make up just half of the Burlesque on Brand troupe, which enters, grandstands and immediately plunges into Shakespeare's shortest and most slapstick comedy about two pairs of long-lost twins crisscrossing in Ephesus. Here, servant Dromio (Jerry Kernion) wears a plaid toga, argyle socks and saddle shoes. (The four credited costumers have done fantastic work.) When Dromio vents to hero Antipholous (Bruce Turk) that the chubby kitchen wench (Gibby Brand) who claims she's his betrothed "is spherical, like a globe I could find out countries in her," their banter smacks of Abbott and Costello. Director Michael Michetti's dynamite ensemble is held together by Turk's leading man, who, like his Errol Flynn mustache and the production itself, is playful and self-mocking, but never ironic. Michetti inventively turns bereft father Egeon's (Michael Stone Forrest) tale of how he lost his four sons the longest speech in Shakespeare's canon into a silent black-and-white film, but the director's not above showing a pie in the face. And he even gets laughs for Adriana (Abby Craden) and Luciana (Annie Abrams) in their usually thankless roles. In the first few scenes, the play threatens to become a musical, but once past the momentary misstep of two musical numbers, the production settles into the most droll and deft staging of The Comedy of Errors I've seen in a decade. A Noise Within, 234 S. Brand Blvd., Glendale; in rep, check website for schedule. (818) 240-0910, anoisewithin.org
Sat., March 5, 8 p.m.; Sun., March 6, 2 p.m.; Wed., March 23, 8 p.m.; Thu., March 24, 8 p.m.; Thu., April 14, 8 p.m.; Fri., April 15, 8 p.m.; Sat., April 23, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., April 24, 2 p.m.; Sun., May 1, 2 & 7 p.m.; Thu., May 5, 8 p.m.; Fri., May 6, 8 p.m.; Sat., May 14, 2 & 8 p.m., 2011
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