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COMPANY REP MAKES A TWIN KILLING.

Byline: Evan Henerson Theater Critic

GOTTA LOVE that tube!

I refer to the humongous 1950s-style television out of which the Company Rep's production of ``The Comedy of Errors'' spills with such manic verve. The program credits no designer, but the sets were painted by children from the nonprofit child empowerment agency Peace4Kids. Not only is the TV a constantly changing backdrop, it's also a screening board for the show's clever home-movie prologue showing the twins separating and being lost in a shipwreck (complete with Titanic footage).

As director Hope Alexander imagines it, the characters from Shakespeare's early farce appear to have emerged from a hodgepodge of semi- classic TV shows. A little vaudeville here, a little ``Mod Squad'' there. And cue - many times - the laugh track.

It makes for a bouncy and often imaginative 90 minutes. The actors are hamming it big time, as befits the plot. This isn't the first time someone has tried the throw-in-everything-but-the-commode approach to ``Errors,'' and it won't be the last.

No harm done. ``Errors'' is, after all, the tale of two sets of twins - each with the same name - mixing up each other and the towns of Ephesus and Syracuse until they discover each other, their parents and true love - albeit not necessarily in that order. It's always been a ludicrous play, as well as an opportunity for farce-savvy performers to really shtick around.

At the Company Rep, the funniest include Joe Garcia as Antipholus of Syracuse, the twin most confused by all the mix-ups, and Peter Brooke as both a Billy Graham-like exorcist and the self-adoring Prince of Ephesus. Michael Lightsey gives a wise-guy edge to the merchant Angelo, and Monique McIntyre's constantly dancing Luciana - eventual love interest to Antipholus of Syracuse - infuses a dose of peculiarity into the proceedings.

This production may set a new precedent for twins who bear the least resemblance to each other. I can buy Garcia and John Edwin Shaw as the look-alike Antipholi, but how blind do the townspeople of Ephesus have to be to mix up Brandon Ford Green (who is African-American) and blond Stephen Brewster as the twin servant Dromios?

Then again, if you can't suspend disbelief, you probably don't belong in ``Error'' land to begin with. Alexander and company make our stay a more than sitcom-y romp.

THE COMEDY OF ERRORS - Three stars

Where: American Renegade Theater, 11136 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood.

When: 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays; through June 15.

Tickets: $10 to $25. Call (818) 506-7550.

In a nutshell: Cheerfully manic production of Shakespeare's frothiest comedy.
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Title Annotation:Review; U
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 23, 2003
Words:429
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