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Arts and Entertainment Monday, Mar. 28, 2022 3 months ago

Sarasota Ballet channels Shakespeare in 'Comedy of Errors'

The Sarasota Ballet put on a program for casual and devoted fans alike over the weekend when it performed the world premiere of "A Comedy of Errors."
by: Sara Rachon Dance Critic

Friday evening, I brought my sister to the ballet. She was reluctant to accept the invitation but obliged as she knew it would make me happy. Tutus, tiaras, swan lake — my cup of tea, not hers.

However, the show we were about to see was different. It was a show for ballet lovers and non–ballet lovers, seasoned audience members and first-time viewers. The world premiere of Sir David Bintley’s “A Comedy of Errors,” performed by the Sarasota Ballet this past weekend at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, was one for the books.

Bintley based the full-length balletic production off William Shakespeare’s slapstick comedy. During the prologue, photos of two young Brits, Dawn and Kimberly (Taylor Sambola and Sareen Tchekmeydian), vacationing in Costa Del Sol are projected.

Too much sun and fun result in both women giving birth to twin baby boys nine months later.

Fast-forward 30 years, and Dawn and Kimberly are vacationing in Ibiza with their sons, Anthony and Derek (Ivan Spitale and Andrea Marcelletti). Unbeknownst to them all, Tony and Dell (Ricardo Graziano and Arcadian Broad), twin brothers of Anthony and Derek, who were given up for adoption at birth, are also on the Island.

The curtain opens on Act 1, and we are transformed to a bar in Ibiza. The set and costume designs by Dick Bird and lighting by Aaron Muhl are superb. Bintley does a wonderful job telling the story and playing on the strengths of the entire company.

Graziano is charming and sly as Tony, the local bar owner who is married to Adriana (perfectly portrayed by Danielle Brown) but secretly entertains a mistress, Erotia.

Ricky Bertoni (police uniform) and Victoria Hulland (foreground) helped steal the show in "A Comedy of Errors." (Courtesy photo: Frank Atura)

Victoria Hulland, who rarely plays character roles, is all fun and flirty as Erotia. There are hilarious moments in Act 1 as townspeople mistake Anthony for Tony.

The act ends at a night club where Tony’s philandering is revealed.

Act 2 is full of more baffling encounters where the twins are mistaken for one another.

The entire cast contributes to the laugh-out-loud moments, especially Ricki Bertoni as police officer "Fernando" Hernandez and Marijana Dominis as Luciana, Adriana’s bookish sister.

Along with the comedic moments is clever choreography, including some challenging technical moments for Del of Ibiza (well done by Broad). The act culminates in a drunken chase where both sets of twins eventually emerge.

The audience is full of cheers and laughter as the curtain falls.

I have a smile on my face leaving the theater and driving home.

I wake up the next morning to a text message from my sister, “Get me tickets to the next one.”

Well done, Sarasota Ballet. Well done.

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