DJ Oker Chen

Walking into the cozy Arts Club Revue Stage theater last night for The Bomb-itty of Errors opening, we were greeted with DJ Oker Chen spinning tunes set against a colourful, detail-rich brick wall of graffiti.

On that wall, Shakespeare dons a heavy gold chain, Bomb-itty is spelled out in street-style lettering, and the scene is set for a night of rap, MC Willy Shakes style. Bomb-itty Director Catriona Leger sets the fast-paced production in modern-day Ephesus.

Niko Koupantsis, Jameson Matthew Parker, David Kaye, Brian Cochrane
[L to R: Niko Koupantsis, Jameson Matthew Parker, David Kaye, Brian Cochrane]

During the 100-minute (without intermission) performance, the language of Shakespeare is the catalyst for a script that ‘pays homage to the evolution of hip hop in a way that would make the Bard proud’. This is a musical “ad-rap-tation” of Shakespeare’s comedy of mistaken identities, complete with lyrics recalling songs by Eminem, Sugar Hill Gang, and Cypress Hill, among others.

Brian Cochrane, Jameson Matthew Parker
[Brian Cochrane, Jameson Matthew Parker]

During the fast, furious, and lively show, Niko Koupantsis, Jameson Matthew Parker, David Kaye, and Brian Cochrane are a tightly-knit team in a physically-demanding performance.

Rhymes come fast, silly antics ensue, all the while DJ Oker spinning and nodding along to the actors with a smirk here and there. Some of the monologues are done to the beat of the music, others sans tunes, and a few get the beatbox experience. All four actors are splendid in this show, and create a wealth of characters from the silly to the outrageous.

The graffiti wall set design by Ian Schimpf slides to reveal a couple of doors where characters flow in and out during the musical numbers. Schimpf also does double duty as Lighting Designer, adding some serious neon and black light effects to the colourful wardrobe assembled by Costume Designer Vanessa Imeson.

David Kaye, Niko Koupantsis
[David Kaye, Niko Koupantsis]

The actors’ delivery and comedic timing are fantastic, but the two standouts for me were David Kaye and Niko Koupantsis. That’s not to diminish the other two leads, but somehow Kaye and Koupantsis, perhaps due to the their slight stature, steal the show with some pretty amazing moves and gestures. Luciana’s character will have you laughing silly, as will MC Handelberg, a side curls-sporting orthodox Jewish DJ. Shalom, homies.

All four were part of the 2012 show. Originally produced by Vancouver-based Twenty Something Theatre and Temporary Thing, this is an Arts Club remount with new tunes and the original four lads, now just a tad older. The cast excels at being silly, at times wearing campy wigs and dresses. In other words, this is a light-hearted, fun show that will have you in a great mood in no time.

The Arts Club’s The Bomb-itty of Errors continues at the Revue Stage through May 10.

All photos by Candice Albach, with the exception of DJ Oker Chen.

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