Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Albuquerque/Santa Fe

The Comedy of Errors
Shakespeare on the Plaza
Review by Billy Trabaudo

Also see Billy's review of Macbeth, Mark's review of The Normal Heart and Rob's review of Come Blow Your Horn


Shakespeare on the Plaza
There is nothing but joy to be had in seeing The Comedy of Errors down on the plaza. Everyone involved, from the cast to the crew, seem to have a great time bringing Shakespeare to life. Director Dennis Elkins does a wonderful job of creating a cohesive world for Shakespeare's characters to exist and for his actors to play. Threads of precision, consistency and playfulness pervade almost the entire production. In particular, the great attention to detail in the costuming by Quinn Perry elevates the production to a level seldom seen in Albuquerque. The same can be said about the props created by Nina Dorrance, a well known props designer in Albuquerque. It is clear, that Mr. Elkins has a fully executed and well-planned concept that is supported by a company full of amazing talent. Dionysus would be proud.

Anyone who has seen outdoor Shakespeare before knows that a major challenge for the cast is commanding and filling such a vast space. It is baffling how elegantly this cast accomplishes such a challenging feat. Perhaps it is because every single member of the cast enjoys every single line and every single movement they create together. What is particularly delightful is that the actors revel in the playfulness of their roles—and there is nothing more critical to comedy. The high level of talent is palpable.

In particular, performances by Martin Andrews (Dromio of Syracuse), Pip Lustgarten (Adriana), and Ed Chavez (Dromio of Ephesus) deserve mentioning. Mr. Andrews and Mr. Chavez do a delightful job with their physical comedy and resist the temptation to overplay their gags. Their final scene together will remain in my heart and mind for many years to come. Additionally, Ms. Lustgarten maintains a high amount of energy from start to finish and is a powerful force on stage. As Adriana, her talent is actualized and she is a fine choice for such a demanding role.

It is often the case in Albuquerque that an ensemble fails to live up to the talent of the leads. This is not case for Elkins' The Comedy of Errors. Each part is well done and filled by actors who have clear understanding of the text. Hats off to Elkins' for his casting and a round of applause for Martin Andrews (Artistic Director) for bringing Elkins to Shakespeare on the Plaza.

There is one point of criticism worth mentioning, but it should be prefaced by an understanding of the limitations of outdoor repertory theatre. The set itself, in terms of aesthetics, is better suited for Macbeth than it is for The Comedy of Errors. Although the physical space is well used by the production, more could have been done to adapt the repertory set to match the beauty found in the props and costumes. That aside, it would be a mistake not to see this show. It is by far one of the best productions that Albuquerque has seen in recent memory and I look forward to seeing it again. Congratulations to the cast, crew, and artistic staff.

The Comedy of Errors will be presented in repertory with Macbeth on Albuquerque's Civic Plaza. Shakespeare on the Plaza is free for all. For more information go to www.newmexicoshakespeare.org.


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