Review by Paul Nelson
THE nearest I have even been to rap music and hip-hop is standing
at pedestrian crossings and hearing it being boomed out of car
radios, shaking the very asphalt as they go by.
This has not been a happy experience.
Imagine then, my culture shock when, at the New Ambassadors
Theatre, I go to hear Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors set
We've had rock Shakespeare, pop Shakespeare and now rap. The
greatest of these is undoubtedly rap and The Bomb-itty of Errors
The show is very fast. So fast, in fact, that I must have missed
at least 30 per cent of the dialogue (which is non-stop rap from
beginning to end).
However, what matter when every five seconds, roughly the time
span of one line of the (dare I say) libretto, there is a joke
so sure of its weight that the rear wall of the theatre is in
danger of demolition. I earnestly longed for a script to follow
so that I would not miss them. The ones I caught were humdingers.
I'd still love to read the script.
There seems to be a new audience for it, too. A mainly young
crowd, absolutely au fait with the style, lapped it up and screamed
with joy as each gag ripped through the theatre. What Stomp!
does for rhythms, Bomb-itty does for words. It is breathtakingly
It is also performed by a canny cast of four people, who double
up, treble up and generally people the stage with all the characters
you might come to expect from a young playwright who, not too
sure of the gold mine he has unearthed, hedges his bets.
Each character is rapidly and finely sketched, bringing to mind
The Reduced Shakespeare Company.
The plot, that of two pairs of twins separated at birth and meeting
years later on a foreign shore, is further complicated by the
fact that each twin has a brother (brothah?) of a different race.
Consequently, the jokes are multiplied as they make good use of
the racial opportunities.
The show is killingly funny and the cast rise to the occasions
that are presented to them with a panache rarely seen in ensemble
Each member of the company seems to have his fan club assembled
in the audience, and as delightful and talented as all four men
are, one will ultimately pick ones own favourite.
The director, too, must receive his due plaudits, along with
the DJ, who effectively emcees the events.
It seems to have been scheduled for a limited run, which I can
hardly believe. If this is so, then get your butt over there before
it is too late and enjoy one of the most unlikely (for me at any
rate) events ever. The show is a real sensation.
The Bomb-itty of Errors by Jordan Allen-Dutton, GQ, Erik Weiner,
Jason Catalano, and J.A.Q. (after William Shakespeare), Music
by J.A.Q., Directed by Andrew Goldberg, Designer Nick Barnes,
Lighting Designer Natasha Chivers, Sound Designer Sebastian Frost
(Orbital), Costume Designer David C Woolard. WITH: Charles Anthony
Burks, Chris Edwards, Joe Hernandez-Kolski, Ranney and DJ Kevin
Shand. Presented by Marshall Cordell, Mary Lu Roffe, Martin Sutherland,
Guy Chapman, Old Vic Productions, Mark Rubinstein in association
with Jim Steinman at the New Ambassadors Theatre, West Street,
London WC2. Tickets 020 7369 1761.