Open Fist’s ‘Comedy of Errors’ is Summer Fun - Review Great Local Theater

(Los Angeles, CA) July 29, 2008 - Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors” is given a summertime facelift as their traditional Ephesus setting is turned into a 1964 beach blanket bingo community. Complete with bikini-clad dancers, martini-sipping hipsters and smiles all around as these cool cats enjoy the hip vibe.

Dylan Fergus, Sarah Buster, and Kim Swennen

The Open Fist Theater is located just east of Vine St. on Santa Monica Boulevard smack in the middle of Hollywood.  A modest location that surprises you as an impressive venue.  It boasts energy, passion and talent.  A rare and welcomed choice in local theater.

The production is a fast-paced rendition of Shakespeare's zaniest comedy of mistaken identities, lost twins, found parents and even some lost minds. While certainly also faithful, the show is downright fun.  It boasts strong performances from an energetic and sometimes scintillating cast, surprising production value and knowing direction.

Beach Bunnies

Casting of the project needs to be given strong kudos. Ensemble is strong and dynamic. Each Antipholus and Dromio bring a perfect taste to the role.  You truly look forward to their scenes.  

Syracus’s Mathew Brenher upon first introduction is a affable fellow.  A big brother appeal.  When Ephesus’s Dylan Fergus arrives, while he looks so similar, his vibe is entirely different causing a double-take.  Perfect start.

William B. Jackson and Chris Erric Maddox

Brenher has a macho, sometimes mopey air about him.  More somber, more introspective.  Contrast that against Fergus, who skates around a slickness. He’s not your big brother, he’s the cool kid down the street that you want to get in trouble with. Together they’re a strong combination and that’s essential to make the split halves work.

Adding Some Spice

The Dromio’s are even more fun. Sassy and spunky.  Every time one’s on stage, the appeal factor skyrockets and their ability to steal the scene quickly becomes evident. But they don’t.  They almost struggle not to. They delight in adding spice to every one’s moments rather then spotlight their own.  

Jordana Berliner(L) and Claire Mills(R) add fun and spice as respective Dromio's

Claire Mills, Dromio of Syracuse, is a delight. She’s a bundle of energy that exudes appeal. Somewhere deep inside, you want to watch her lead a story.  You want to give her more to chew on.  When paired with Brenher, they have a playful chemistry that’s one of the highlights of the show.

Shading and Shadows

Kim Sweenen and Stephanie Terronez, respectively Adriana and Luciana, may be the biggest overall contrast of the show.  Their scheming feels almost too moody for the given tone.  It works and it’s not distracting, but they venture a shade too dark for this beach.

Jordana Berliner(L) watches on during a moment of intrigue between Mathew Brenher and Kim Swennen

Applause for Sweenen’s risk as she allows vulnerability to her beauty.  Several times she brings Adriana’s insecurity to a chill.  Tremendous power.  Terronez simply is having too much fun. It’s tempting to walk on stage and join her as she plays in her juiciest moments.  Her smile tells us that she is having just as much fun as it seems.  And that might be the best part.

Bringing it all Together

Ron West’s direction is smooth and dynamic.  His players utilize the full canvas of the stage.  There’s dynamic action involving a large table (and the food on it) as well as a setpiece doorway.  Emotions flow well, while seldom taken too deep.  Keep it breezy, we’re ocean-side.  He understands the story and tone and works well within it.

Producers cRc and Ina Russell have excelled putting this production together.  Jeff Rack’s set design is strategic, intuitive and stylized.  Costumer designer Rosalie Alvarez’s work is subtle, yet intricate, perfect for the mistaken identity storyline.

Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors” runs through Saturday August 30
Shows are weekends, Friday at 8pm and select Saturdays and Sundays.
Tickets are $20 each
Venue is 6209 Santa Monica Blvd.
For more information, please visit:

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