(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Definitely eye candy. This production of The Comedy of Errors has everything
going for it. Ruth Dar’s wonderful Greek islands set, all white, blue and
sunshine; Moni Mednik’s apt leisure-wear costumes; Moshe Kepten’s witty,
light-handed direction; lots and lots of laughs; and, above all, Dori Parnes’s
translation. Shakespeare’s original abounds in verbal gymnastics, and Parnes has
not only done him proud but has shaken a few more saucy rhyme sets from his own
The Comedy of Errors is a classical farce with a twist that’s
Shakespeare’s own, even though he took the main plot mostly from Plautus’s
(254-184 BCE) comedy The Menaechemi. The twist concerns the twins’
father, the Syracusan merchant Egeon (Oded Teomi) who’s been condemned to death
by the Duke of Ephesus (Eli Gornstein).
The plot concerns identical
twins, both named Antipholus, who get into all kinds of scrapes when each is
mistaken for the other, though one comes from Syracuse (Dan Shapira) and one is
an Ephesan (Iftach Ophir), as are their bond servants, also identical twins
named Dromio (Yaniv Biton and Ido Mosseri).
The put-upon servants are
fine. As Syracusan Dromio, Yaniv Biton is mischievous, charming and energetic;
but the servant acting honors go to Ido Mosseri, whose equally mischievous
etcetera Dromio has also a delicious injured innocence.
It’s with their
masters that this Comedy
falters. Even in a farce as broad as this, there has to
be a presence under all that effervescence, a bit of substance, the idea that
both young men have had their pleasant existence kicked out from under them and
they want to get it back. Iftach Ophir’s Antipholus is less mannered than
Shapira’s and consequently is more persuasive. Dan Shapira needs to learn
to keep his hands out of his pockets – certainly when the gesture, as here,
doesn’t fit the character. Both are likable in their roles.What neither has is
that bit of substance.
Oded Teomi and Kepten are having fun with Egeon –
very Shakespearean, that – a character thrown as a sop, as it were, to an old
actor, provided he narrates the play. So impish narrator Teomi is pointedly over
the top as Egeon. Nadav Assulin’s speech-impeded goldsmith is priceless, and
sidekicks Avi Termin and Lior Zohar back him with decorous
vulgarity. Michal Bernstein as Adriana and Tal Blankstein as her sister
Luciana do a brave best with Shakespeare’s less than immortal lines for these
women, and Rona Lee Shimon very surely decorates the stage as the
It’s all beautifully escapist.