Double good, double fun in Cal Shakes’ Comedy

Jun 29

Double good, double fun in Cal Shakes’ <i>Comedy</i>

A visiting stranger makes a keen observation: "Your town is troubled with unruly boys." The trouble is, he ends up being one of the unruly boys, and that's the fun of Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors, a masterfully chaotic comedy now at California Shakespeare Theater's Bruns Amphitheater.

As farces go, this Comedy requires us to believe that two sets of not-so-bright twins with the same names – the upper-class set is called Antipholus, the slave set is called Dromio – cause confusion, consternation and furious frustration when roaming the streets of Ephesus of the same day. Once over that hump (and Shakespeare makes it pretty easy), the farce clicks along like a finely tuned laugh machine until brothers are reunited, a father's search is fulfilled and a courtesan gets her diamond ring back.

Director Aaron Posner strikes the right tone from the start...

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There’s no escapin’ the joys of this Scapin

Sep 23

There’s no escapin’ the joys of this <i>Scapin</i>

If you want to see what funny looks like, you should see Bill Irwin in a comedy. In recent years, he’s been fairly serious, what with his stage work in shows like Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (a Tony Award-winning turn opposite Kathleen Turner) or The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? (opposite Sally Field) and his movie work as a dedicated dishwasher-loading dad in Rachel Getting Married.

But Irwin is a clown in the purest sense. The Bay Area knows him as one of the founders of the Pickle Family Circus, and his alter ego, Willy the Clown, is as beloved as they come.

We’ve seen Irwin on the American Conservatory Theater stage in the last few years, in his luminous Fool Moon project with David Shiner and the conundrum of Beckett’s Texts for Nothing, but his return as the title character in Moliere’s Scapin, ACT’s season opener, is reason to cheer.

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Theater review: `War Music’

Apr 02

Opened April 1 at American Conservatory Theater Soldiers rock out with their “guns” out in American Conservatory Theater’s War Music, a world premiere adaptation written and directed Lillian Groag. Photos by Kevin Berne.   Not much music, not much war in ACT’s academic `War Music’«« American Conservatory Theater’s...

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Countdown to ACT’s `Carol’

Dec 11

James Carpenter (center) is Scrooge in American Conservatory Theater’s annual production of A Christmas Carol. Photo by Kevin Berne American Conservatory Theater’s annual production of A Christmas Carol is in full swing in downtown San Francisco. Rather than reviewing this holiday perennial, let’s just hit some of the major points. Herewith, in...

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Review: `The Government Inspector’

Mar 27

Opened March 26, 2008 at American Conservatory Theater The town’s mayor (Graham Beckel, seated) succumbs to a sneezing fit while accepting the congratulations of the town council (from left: Delia MacDougall, Andrew Hurteau, Dan Hiatt, and Rod Gnapp) on the engagement of his daughter to Khlestakov. Photos by Kevin Berne Fantastic cast makes Gogol’s...

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