Thursday, February 22, 2024

Comedy of Errors coming to UVic’s Phoenix Theatre… with a twist (CONTEST)


From March 15-24, the University of Victoria’s Phoenix Theatre will showcase Shakespeare’s funniest comedy, but with an original, modern twist.

Inspired by pop music videos, Director Jeffrey Renn has reimagined the play to feature a catalogue of music 20th and 21st-century music.

From Beyoncé and Nina Simone to Sir Mixalot and Queen, this production promises to be unlike any Shakespearean play you’ve seen before.

Connecting an Ancient Play to the Modern World

The Comedy of Errors offers a hilarious, intricately-entangled farce of mistaken identity that was first told in Roman times.

“Given what’s happening in our world today, the old theatre maxim ‘Fascism cries Farce!’ remains apropos,” said Renn. “We need laughter – silly belly laughter – not the sort born out of cynicism”

With the help of Wendell Clanton (UVic Music) writing song adaptations and choreographer Christina Penhale (ExitStageLeft), Shakespeare’s words will be surrounded by song and dance, and provide plenty of fun for the audience.

Songs inspired by:
  • Beyoncé – Single Ladies
  • Black Eyed Peas – Let’s Get it Started
  • Queen – Somebody to Love and also Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Rag’n Bone Man – Human
  • Sir Mixalot – Baby Got Back
  • Nina Simone – O Sinnerman
  • Justin Timberlake – Mirrors

About the Play

The Comedy of Errors tells the story of two sets of twins, separated at birth, who share a name with their sibling and happen to find themselves in the same city. As their two worlds collide, chaos ensues, resolving into a tale of family reunion, love, and self-reflection.

An exceptional creative team will bring both youthful energy and expertise to create a modern-day Mardi Gras party atmosphere setting.

Aidan Dunsmuir’s sound design will fill the auditorium with energy, complemented by Michael Whitfield’s club-style lighting design.

Patrick Du Wors’ set utilizes mirrors to create a timeless, minimalist universe, and costume designer Jivan Bains-Wood highlights the fun and extravagance of the adaptation with colour, glitter, and even glow-in-the-dark costume pieces.

About the Director

Renn’s decision to revamp the Phoenix’s Comedy of Errors came from a desire to share the Bard with the current “iTunes generation”.

After graduating from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, Renn has been involved with Shakespeare – through both acting and directing – in productions ranging from Stratford to Broadway.

“Shakespearean theatre was the music video of his day.”

“We’re adapting Shakespeare’s adaptation of Plautus Menaechmi, a play that is almost two thousand years old,” said Renn. “Proving that our basic humanity really hasn’t changed since Roman times.”

“This play holds up a mirror and asks the question ‘Who am I?'” added Renn. “Young people are still searching for a sense of meaning, a sense of recognition, only now it’s performative – captured and viewed through our devices.”


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The Comedy of Errors

When: 15 March – 24 March

Where: Phoenix Theatre, 

Tickets: Call 250-721-8000 to purchase, or click here for more info.

  • Friday & Saturday at 8 pm
    • All Seats: $26
  • Monday – Thursday at 8 pm / Saturday Matinee at 2 pm
    • Adult: $26
    • Senior: $21
    • Student: $16
    • UVic Alumni: $16 (Matinees only)

The public is also encouraged to attend a free Preshow Lecture, Friday, March 16 at 7 pm with Director Jeffrey Renn.

Alistair Ogden
Former staff writer at Victoria Buzz.

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