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STAGE REVIEW

In ‘The Bomb-itty of Errors,’ a Shakespeare remix is a rappers’ delight

From left: Anderson Stinson III, Henry Morehouse (rear), Malik Mitchell, and Victoria Omoregie in "The Bomb-itty of Errors."NILE SCOTT STUDIOS

The world has marveled at the works of Shakespeare for more than 400 years. For the past 40 or so, rhyme has dominated our shared culture in the form of rap lyrics.

In that context, it’s funny to think there’s already an “old school” of hip-hop. But that fact is on full display on “The Bomb-itty of Errors,” the Actors’ Shakespeare Project’s remix of a show first produced off-Broadway in 1999. The production runs through June 26 at the Charlestown Working Theater.

The show is a rap adaptation of the farcical story old Will.i.am told in “The Comedy of Errors.” “There were two sets of identical twins all at once/Two big healthy boys and two little runts,” the four young actors explain in an extended prologue that sets up the cockamamie plot.

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The rapper M.C. Egeon and his wife, Betty, give birth to quadruplets, two of whom they name Dromio and two Antipholus. Unable to provide for the children, the couple give them up for adoption. Each set of twins is separated and grows up unaware of the other’s existence. Mistaken identities ensue.

The cast members all play multiple roles, inciting a fast-paced riot of entrances and exits, costume changes, busted moves, and plot twists. As with both Shakespeare and the most talented hip-hop emcees, it’s nearly impossible to decipher every line. Better to sit back and let the broad comedy of the unlikely couplets (“Phoenix”/“Kleenex”) and the puns (“I’m a real rapscallion”) do their worst.

From left: Malik Mitchell, Anderson Stinson III, Victoria Omoregie, and Henry Morehouse in "The Bomb-itty of Errors."Nile Scott Studios

It’s all hijinks (or is that high jinks?), and the cast leans all the way in. Malik Mitchell, who plays Dromio of Syracuse, has an amusing interlude as Dr. Pinch, an herb doctor with a buzzsaw flow like Busta Rhymes. Victoria Omoregie (Antipholus of Ephesus) takes a turn as Bobby, a UPS driver who can’t rhyme for the life of him.

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“I like to rap/It is my hobby,” he tries. “If you don’t know my name, just … call me on my cell phone.”

The delivery man brings Antipholus of Syracuse, played by Anderson Stinson III, a ridiculous diamond-encrusted hubcap pendant. The gold chain comes courtesy of the rabbinical jeweler M.C. Hendelberg (also Stinson), played with silly chutzpah. (“Shalomies to my homies!”)

Henry Morehouse — Dromio of Ephesus — nearly steals the show as the Valley Girl-ish Luciana and a generic, nightstick-waggling cop. More than once his colleagues strained to keep from laughing as he ad-libbed for the audience.

Anderson Stinson III in "The Bomb-itty of Errors."Nile Scott Studios

High above a simple set of corrugated, graffiti-splashed metal sat DJ Whysham. She kept the action moving with deft beats. On Deirdre Benson’s stage, several doorways provided ins and outs for the dizzy rotation of characters. One door was marked “411,” another “O.P.P.” — Othello’s Pleasure Palace, of course.

When at last the two sets of twins are reunited, the two Dromios are infatuated, mirroring each other’s jiggy moves like Harpo Marx and Lucille Ball in track suits. “The Bomb-itty of Errors” mirrors Shakespeare in similar fashion, likeminded jesters interacting across time.

THE BOMB-ITTY OF ERRORS

By Jordan Allen-Dutton, Jason Catalano, Gregory J. Quaiyum, Jeffrey Quaiyum, and Erik Weiner. Directed by Christopher V. Edwards. Presented by Actors’ Shakespeare Project. Through June 26 at the Charlestown Working Theater, 442 Bunker Hill St., Charlestown. $45 (a pay-what-you-can option is available). www.actorsshakespeareproject.org

James Sullivan can be reached at jamesgsullivan@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @sullivanjames.

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