Anthony Fusco and Sharon Lockwood are superb as brother and sister Vanya and Sonia in Berkeley Repertory Theatre's production of the Tony Award-winning "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike."

Anthony Fusco and Sharon Lockwood are superb as brother and sister Vanya and Sonia in Berkeley Repertory Theatre's production of the Tony Award-winning "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike."

'Comedy of Errors' goes way out West

If Shakespeare had written “Blazing Saddles,” it might have come out something like “A Comedy of Errors” at Marin Shakespeare Company in San Rafael.

You read that right. It's “A” and not “The” because managing and artistic directors Lesley and Robert Currier have taken one of the Bard's earliest, shortest and most oft-produced comedies and given it a twist, a twang and some country tunes by Leslie Harelib.

It's far from sacrilege. The feisty farce about two long-separated pairs of identical twins has inspired films (try “Big Business” with Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin), an opera, and the Rodgers and Hart musical “The Boys From Syracuse.”

The western omelet served up here has moved the setting from ancient Greece to a Mel Brooks-ian West, replete with fart jokes, painful puns and country gals wailing about their men.

It would be easy to dismiss it as an indulgent whimsy were it not for some outstanding comedic acting keeping it grounded.

The leading perpetrators of merriment are double-duty-defying Patrick Russell (Antipholus) and Jon Deline (Dromio), who evoke the perfect Mutt and Jeff, Laurel and Hardy sensibility for the piece.

Russell ricochets nimbly from bouncy bravado to hapless confusion and wounded masculinity. A bright-eyed puppy dog in love and a boorish brute when vexed, he is agile, playful and thoroughly engaging.

Deline is a born clown, and not just because he spends the whole show sporting a red rubber nose. A superbly graceful big guy (think young John Goodman), his comedy timing and unerring sense of just how far to mug and milk are delicious fun.

Other memorable guy moments come from Kyle Stoner's Deputy, a whining-pipsqueak-of-the-law homage to Don Knotts; Gary Grossman as Doctor Pinch, in this presentation a Borscht Belt Indian; and the marvelously expressive Jack Powell as Aegeon.

On the distaff side, Amanda Salazar (Adriana) and Elena Wright (Luciana) play with gusto and carry the bulk of the musical duties.

As the virago wife confused by the on-off attentions of her husband, Salazar is a lusty, wild-eyed wench of combustible passions. Wright, on the other hand, doles out pragmatism in the face of her desire to respond to the increasingly inappropriate attentions of her erstwhile brother-in-law.

Operatic abbess Jessica Powell, saucy jeweler Abby Sammons, sassy courtesan Shirley Smallwood, burly sheriff Jeffrey Lloyd Heatherly and a game though choreographically challenged ensemble round out the company of players in this supremely silly and surprisingly satisfying romp.

A Comedy of Errors

In repertory with “Spanish Tragedy” and “All's Well That Ends Well”

Where: Forest Meadows Amphitheatre, 890 Belle Ave., San Rafael

When: 8 p.m. some Fridays-Saturdays, 4 p.m. some Sundays; closes Sept. 29

Tickets: $20 to $37.50

Contact: (415) 499-4488,

artsComedy of ErrorsLesley CurrierMarin Shakespeare Company

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at

Just Posted

Organizer Jas Florentino, left, explains the figures which represent 350 kidnapped Africans first sold as slaves in the United States in 1619 in sculptor Dana King’s “Monumental Reckoning.” The installation is in the space of the former Francis Scott Key monument in Golden Gate Park. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
What a reparations program would look like in The City

‘If there’s any place we can do it, it’s San Francisco’

Officer Joel Babbs at a protest outside the Hall of Justice in 2017 (Bay City News file photo)
The strange and troubling story of Joel Babbs: What it tells us about the SFPD

The bizarre and troubling career of a whistle-blowing San Francisco police officer… Continue reading

Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at a COVID-19 update at the City College of San Francisco mass vaccination site in April. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Gavin Newsom under COVID: The governor dishes on his pandemic life

By Emily Hoeven CalMatters It was strange, after 15 months of watching… Continue reading

People fish at a dock at Islais Creek Park on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
What Islais Creek tells us about rising sea levels in San Francisco

Islais Creek is an unassuming waterway along San Francisco’s eastern industrial shoreline,… Continue reading

Deputy public defender Chris Garcia outside the Hall of Justice on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
As pandemic wanes, SF public defender hopes clients will get ‘their day in court’

Like other attorneys in San Francisco, Deputy Public Defender Chris Garcia has… Continue reading

Most Read