Matthew Fairlee as
Dromio of Syracuse and Josh Walden as Antipholus of Syracuse in a scene from
“The Boys from Syracuse” (Photo credit: Milliron Studios Photography)
By Eugene Paul
Rambunctious. Ridiculous. Deliberately. Gay. Very. Enjoyable. Very. A totally
pro shambles. But if you think this the first drag take on Richard Rodgers’,
Lorenz Hart’s, George Abbott’s amiable 1938 – only eighty years? -- send-up of
Shakespeare’s “A Comedy of Errors”, think again. The Great Will did it first:
all the women’s roles were played by men in his day. So there. But not like
this, not by a long shot.
B. Shapiro as Luce, Darrell Morris, Jr. as Luciana, and Jonathan Hoover as
Adriana in a scene from “The Boys from Syracuse” (Photo credit: Milliron
its 20th season , the producing entity, Musicals Tonight!, has lured
a motley assemblage of shockingly shambolic talents into giving their all in
the Bard of Avon’s silliest play of mistaken identities with a hodge podge of
no holds barred casting, race, gender, fatness, skininess, shortness, tallness,
long as you got that drive, personality, sing, dance and perform up a storm,
anything goes. Well, believe it or not, it seems like anything but there isn’t
a bared private, a blue word, and miracle of miracles, you don’t even care.
Jonathan Cerullo’s exultant, exhausting direction and choreography, everybody’s
in on the joke, everybody’s giving 110 percent from the very start, the joke being
let’s make believe we believe this unbelievable mashup of situations by making
it more unbelievably giddy referentially, everybody not only being a guy,
everjybody also a doll. Except of course, for one singular sensation who wears
a tight tee shirt blazoned with the legend: THE FUTURE IS FEMALE right across
the real thing. I think. Sweet Madeline Hamlet who wears glasses, and you know
what they say about girls who wear glasses. The drolleries abound.
case you forgot, herewith story time: Ageon (over the top good Jody Cook) lives
with his family in Syracuse. He and his wife and their twin sons and their
twin male servants, on a voyage to Ephesus, are tempest tossed. Father and
one twin and one servant survive; mother and the other twin and other servant
are lost at sea. Several years later, the still bereft Ageon, son Antipholus,
servant Dromio, embark for Ephesus. Maybe, maybe their missing dear ones
survived? At least they can but ask.
They cannot . Ephesus now hates Syracusans and if they are not departed by
sundown they will be hanged. Ouch. Of course, unbeknownst to Father , his other
twin son, also Antipholus – don’t ask – and his other twin servant, Dromio --
ditto – did wash up on the other side of Ephesus after that terrible tempest
and are settled Ephesians, thinking they are alone in this world. Not quite.
Antipholus of Ephesus is married to Adriana (Jonathan Hoover) and Dromio of
Ephesus is married to their maid, Luce (Adam B. Shapiro). You see where this
is going. How could you not.
just to make sure you get the confusion, both Antipholus of Ephesus (Matt
Dengler) and Antipholus of Syracuse (smashing Josh Walden) are wearing
identical pale blue suits (courtesy of costume designer Hope Salvan who knows
her onions) and , yes, both Dromios are identically bedizened, clothes and face
paint (and better yet, are actually TWINS! Ian and Matthew Fairlee). And if you
think you’ve got that straight – ha ha – there’s Elliott Mattox who plays a
tough sergeant when he is not being an adorable courtesan. And Sam Given is
not only an outrageous courtesan but also the Tailor. (A plot point). But
Shavey Brown is the Duke, he is a Maid, a Courtesan and , oh, a merchant. I
could go on. The Lion stage can hardly contain this company, Joshua Warner’s
scenery and the Cupid and the Arrows Band.
Fairlee as Dromio of Ephesus and Matt Dengler as Antipholus of Syracuse with
members of the ensemble in a scene from “The Boys from Syracuse” (Photo credit:
Milliron Studios Photography)
it would be really ridiculous, even a sin not to mention the songs, under the
loving care of musical director Evan Rees, every one a performance gem:“Falling
in Love with Love”, “This Can’t Be Love”, “You have Cast Your Shadow on the
Sea”, and that absolutely show stopper, “Sing For your Supper”, sung in perfect
harmony by those three adorables, Adriana, Luce and Luciana ( terrific Jonathan
Hoover, Adam B. Shapiro and Darrell Morris, Jr.) That Shakespeare… Will we ever
The Boys from Syracuse. At the Lion, Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street.
Tickets:$45. 212-239-6200. 2hrs 15 min. Thru Feb 25.