By Toby Zinman
I’m still laughing. “What’s the wherefore? / Every why got a wherefore.”
And here’s the wherefore of my laughing: The Bomb-itty of Errors, an Off-Broadway hit, then a Philly hit four years ago (nominated for seven Barrymores) is being reprised by 11th Hour Theatre Company.
Written by Jordan Allen-Dutton, Jason Catalano, Gregory J. Qaiyum, Jeffrey Qaiyum and Erik Weiner and (well, you didn’t expect one guy to come up with two hours worth of rhymes, did you?), the show is directed by Megan Nicole O’Brien with hilarious precision, and DJed by Mark Valenzuela.
The Shakespearean plot is ridiculous enough, but here the two sets of twins become one set of quadruplets. Plausibility is not the show’s strong suit. The absurdities of the original plot are multiplied, too, as the boys from Syracuse meet the boys from Ephesus and multiple misunderstandings ensue.
The two Antipholuses (Antipholi?) are played by Michael Philip O’Brien and David Raphaely (a new addition to the cast), while the two Dromios are played by Tom DelPizzo and Steve Pacek. They also play all the other roles — a wife, her sister, a Jewish jeweler, a Rasta medicine man, a cop, a hooker, and a hapless bike messenger who just can’t rhyme — all of which necessitates lots of quick costume changes as they dash in and out of four curtains, reappearing in wigs and a variety of bizarre get-ups (costumes designed by Holly Payne and coordinated — what a frantic backstage job that must be! — by Lauren Perigard).
The cast is terrific: All four actors are funny, each in his own endearing and super-cute way, and they work as a team to make the necessarily word-perfect rhyming look like reckless riffing.
What a slew of Shakespearean knockoffs we’ve had in just one week! A musical version of Henry IV (Wars & Whores), a feminist Macbeth (Lady M), an interactive Coriolanus, a gypsy grunge Twelfth Night — and now this rollicking version of Comedy of Errors.
Update: I’m still laughing.
Bomb-itty of Errors. 11th Hour Theatre Co at Adrienne Playground. Through Sept.25. Tickets $ 25. Information: www.11thhourtheatrecompany.org