Best Adulterated Shakespeare (2000)

Gregory Boyd's The Comedy of Errors, Alley Theatre

Stand-up comedy in Shakespeare? How about slapstick? Or musical interludes from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly? The Alley's Gregory Boyd did all this and more in his irreverent and very funny take on one of Shakespeare's zaniest tales of mistaken identity, The Comedy of Errors. The Looney Tunes take time-warped the whole story out of the Renaissance and into the war-torn years of the 1940s. Boyd and company turned the mysterious land of Ephesus, where the play takes place, into a Casablanca-like town filled with smoky speakeasies and curvy, platinum-haired women dressed in creamy satin. Taking liberties with Shakespeare's script, Boyd situated one hysterical scene inside a sticky bar, where a Henny Youngman-style stand-up comedian told one-liners in Ephesian, a language Boyd invented. Images from the Three Stooges, the Marx Brothers and Saturday-afternoon spaghetti westerns filled up the wild production, and the audience couldn't stop howling. Though the purists were spinning in their seats, surely Shakespeare would have approved of Boyd's brazen comedic balls.


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