At the Arts Club Revue Stage until May 4
Posted April 19, 2014
This review was first posted in April 2012 when it played at Studio 16. Same cast, same director, same supercharged energy. New set designer: Ian Schimpf. Originally produced by Twenty Something Theatre and Temporary Thing; now produced by the Arts Club Theatre Company. A noticeable and welcomed effort to slow it down just a little – especially at the beginning – to massage us gently into the full, flat-out, hip-hoppitry of this hilarious mile-a-minute script. Well worth a second look if you saw it last time around.
Grab your honey and some money/And get on down/
The Bomb-itty of Errors has hit this town/
It’s funky and it’s funny and it’s downright rude/
And it’s playing to the crowds at 16th Stude-eh-oh/ee-oh/ee-oh-oh-oh.
What a hoot! Who knew Willy Shakespeare could be so much fun? Twenty Something Theatre and Temporary Thing Theatre have a raucous hit on their hands with this ‘ad-rap-tation’ of the Bard’s Comedy of Errors. An hour and a half of rap? Believe it.
Director Catriona Leger cracks the whip on this quintet of performers (two Antipholusses, two Dromios and one DJ) and The Bomb-itty moves along like a speeding bullet. Written by Jordan Allen Dutton, Jason Catalano, Gregory J. Qaiyum, Erik Weiner and Jeffery Qaiyum, Bomb-itty more or less follows the original plot with one major twist: New Yorker ‘Betty’ gives birth to quadruplets – two sets of identical twins – who get separated when their dope-dealing dad offs himself and Mom can no longer care for the boys. The quads go into foster care: one Antipholus and one Dromio to a wealthy family, the others to a poor one. And, oh yes, the Antipholusses are “big and healthy”; the Dromios are “runts”.
The rhymes, rhythms and wordplay are a gleeful explosion of language – the kind of stuff Shakespeare might have written had he been a Gen X or Y-er. And he would have laughed out loud – as did we – at the bawdiness.
Brian Cochrane and David A. Kaye are Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse, respectively. Cochrane doubles as MC Hendelberg, a Hassidic jeweler with baby-blue ringlets hanging below his black hat while Kaye is also slinky, body-stockinged, Othello’s Pleasure Palace brothel resident Desi. Kaye backflips, bounces off the walls and busts some hip-hop moves that come right off the street. With DJ Oker Chen at the turntable in front of set designer Jon Tsang’s graffiti-inspired set, music and dance are a big part of the riotous mix.
Big Jameson Parker and Niko Koupantsis (Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus) are gut-busting hilarious in drag (as Adriana and Luciana), created by costume designer Vanessa Imeson: day-glo pink and yellow be-ribboned, low-cut bodices and tutus, tights and hightop runners. Parker sports a towering Marge Simpson-style hairdo in bright pink; Koupantsis’s hair defies description – like shiny, oversized yellow plastic headphones. Their “sistah” scenes together are pouty, sexy and bust-a-gut funny. Koupantsis, a recent escapee from Saskatchewan, says in his bio that he hopes Vancouver audiences will find him similar to a new food sensation; that they’ll really like him but discover he has left a weird taste in their mouths, satisfied only by waking up in the night with a need to drink water. He’s prodigiously talented and I can’t wait to see what else he can do. Hire him, someone, soon.
My favourite rhymes include “My love is ovah/my husband’s a Casanova” and “Sleep in your own bed/I’ll not be dishonor-èd” but the whole show is bursting at the seams with them.
“Is it tragedy? Nah. Is it comedy? Well. It’s new style. It’s whatever we want it to be. So welcome, welcome, welcome.” Thus ends the prologue and pretty much tells it as it is: new style.
If The Bomb-itty of Errors doesn’t get youthful bums in seats, nothing will. There’s nary an error to be found and it deserves packed houses. Once it gets its buzz on, tickets will be hotter than Koupantsis’s Luciana. As the neighbourhood’s 14-year-old told me, a rapper would sum The Bomb-itty of Errors up like this: “This show ain’t wacked, it’s dope. It’s da bomb”. That, apparently, means it’s great.