The Bomb-itty of Errors

Jordan Allen-Dutton, Jason Catalano, GQ, JAQ and Erik Weiner
New Ambassadors
(2003)

At last a musical for clubbing teenagers. Forget Summer Holiday, Grease or Miss Saigon: if you want to get a trendy youngster hooked on theatre, this is the show. Even better, they will insidiously learn a little about the dreaded Shakespeare.

The Bomb-itty of Errors is based fairly closely on the plot of The Comedy of Errors. In this case, the two Antipholuses and the two Dromios are coolly-dressed quadruplets. Sadly, their MC father died and their poor bewildered mother entered a nunnery. As a consequence, they are split into pairs of identical twins as babies.

There is Shakespeare's confusion of identities, the bag of gold and the lost trinket to remind aficionados of the original. There is even some of the Bard's language in amongst the hip New York street lingo.

What makes this show special is the incredible energy and wit shown by the four actors and DJ Kevin, under the direction of Andrew Goldberg. Within Nick Barnes' stylised street set beautifully lit by Natasha Chivers, the pace never slackens. The production is incredibly slick as one would expect after four years on the road, first in the United States then via Edinburgh to London.

The music is always loud, a mixture of Hip-Hop and Rap, and the lyrics, in rhyming couplets, are razor sharp with the odd really dud rhyme. There is never a dull moment with a bit of audience participation and much invention from the main characters as well as the likes of the Hassidic Hindelberg and an unconventional cop in an Adidas tracksuit and Kangol hat.

The Antipholuses, played by ranney and Joe Hernàndez-Kolski, are in no way similar but that doesn't seem to matter to the ladies, especially the dumb blonde Luciana (Chris Edwards), subject of the snappiest song in the show. He also doubles as a Dromio with Charles Anthony Burks. They really come to the fore as some wonderfully farcical slapstick races to the play's inevitable happy conclusion.

This is not high art and the cultural references are to the likes of Riverdance and Oprah. It is brash, loud non-stop fun and will keep those young clubbers in raptures. This is also one of those shows that might just catch the imagination of a generation and run forever.

This review originally appeared on Theatreworld in a slightly different form

Reviewer: Philip Fisher