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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Marquette's 1960s-Style 'Comedy of Errors'

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Shakespearean wit meets the 1960s in Marquette University Theatre's production of The Comedy of Errors. The clean lines of Adriana Saia's cleverly simple set make Ephesus feel very much like the '60s. In places the set can make the show look more like a grade-school production, but Connie Petersen's stylish period costuming keeps this from being a serious issue.

That 1960s-era feel extends into the staging of the play, which seems like a TV sitcom of the era. Lanky Tim Braun delivers comedy like Dick York with a laugh track. Braun has good instincts for that style of kitschy comedy, which firmly establishes the period feel of the production.

Director Maureen Kilmurry makes the interesting choice of casting Braun as both Antipholus of Syracuse and Antipholus of Ephesus. Likewise, Doug Soder plays both Dromios. The shared scenes are handled well. Thanks to a generous number of roles for a relatively small cast, everyone comes across a bit mad in the end.

Kelsey Lauren gets the most interesting pairing of roles, as she plays opposites in the courtesan and the abbess. Lauren brings a whimsical sense of exaggeration to the roles, creating some subtle, clever comedy. Her performance was one of several highlights in this charming production.

Marquette University Theatre's The Comedy of Errors runs through April 29 at the Helfaer Theatre. For ticket reservations, call 414-288-7504.
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