|Michael Portteus (far
right) acts during rehearsal of Shakespeare inside Needle Hall at the Bowling Green City Park. In the
background are Sam Driscoll (from left) Justin Betancourt, and Lynette Couley. (Photos: J.D.
As dedicated as they are about performing the great works of Shakespeare the members of the Beautiful
Kids Independent Shakespeare troupe are indeed still kids at heart.
Even when performing a tragedy, they seemed to be having a good time, and they work hard – though always
with seeming effortlessness – to make sure their audience is having a good time as well.
And when taking on the lightweight "Comedy of Errors" they can really let fly becoming almost
the Beautiful Kids Independent Stooges company.
This slapstick mess of confused identities and barbed wit opens on the Needle Hall stage tonight at 7 and
continues each evening through Saturday. (In case of rain the show moves inside Needle Hall.)
The plot is really quite straightforward but leads to plenty of hilarious tangles. We learn in the first
scene from Aegon (Jerry Kowalski), a
merchant that 20 years ago he lost his wife, his son’s twin and the servant’s twin in a wreck at sea. The
son, Antipholous (Griffin Coldiron), and his servant Dromio (Pat Mahood), he saved from the sea have set
out from Syracuse to seek their lost identical twins, who have the same names. They arrive in Ephesus,
where unbeknownst to them, their doppelgangers reside.
Is this confusing? Of course. That’s the comedic part. Immediately the paths of the newcomers cross with
those of Antipholous of Ephesus (Sam Driscoll) and Dromio of Ephesus (Michael Portteus) without any of
them ever meeting.
Instead the Syracuse pair end up in the brother’s household where the wife Adriana (Kat Moran) by turns
declares her passion and jealousy for her husband much to his twin’s confusion. For his part Antipholous
of Syracuse falls for his brother’s sister Luciana (Cierra Elston).
|Justin Betancourt (from
left) Sam Driscoll, and Lynette Couley act during rehearsal of Shakespeare inside Needle Hall at the
Bowling Green City Park.
The wandering pair from Syracuse assume they have alighted into some enchanted land, and plot their
There’s also a matter of confusion over a purchased chain. In the end the Duke (Joel Paine) and Aegon
return and everything is miraculously sorted out, but not before 90 minutes of raucous comic
Despite the poetic lilt of the language, the comedy packs plenty of slapping and bawdy turns of phrase.
The show makes fine use of regulars Justin Betancourt, Lynette Cooley, Christina Hoekstra, Amanda Larsen,
Abbey Casino, Angelica Cooley and Jeffrey Guion. There’s a palpable esprit de corps among the players.
Not surprising since the ever-evolving troupe is now in its 17th year, and has help spawn another
independent troupe, Lionface Productions.
Most notably "Comedy of Errors" showcases the fine comic talents of Portteus and Mahood. As the
manservants, they are both put upon, manhandled at will, yet steadfast in their loyalty. The Dromios are
the linchpins of the confusion as they move among the various characters, confronting first one
Antipholous and then another, getting sent on errands, and then returning to the wrong master with rope
instead of gold.
The audience, however, needn’t worry about getting shortchanged – the Beautiful Kids can be counted on to
deliver the comic gold.