Review from The Stranger – Brendan Kiley

Queer Holiday Cheer

HOLIDAY OF ERRORS : Queen Elizabeth, a powerful woman with a powerful libido. Photo by KEN HOLMES

Holiday of Errors (Or, Much Ado About Stockings) is [a new] star in Seattle’s holiday-theater constellation and an addition to the micro-genre of comedies about Shakespeare as a working playwright, stuffed with winking references to his plays. (See Shakespeare in LoveWittenberg, and so on.) Theater about making theater has a high risk of being intolerably geeky and self-referential. But playwrights Frank Lawler and Daniel Flint skirt the edge of that chasm without falling into it.

The play begins with Shakespeare (Lawler), broke and cold on Christmas Eve, trying out and throwing away new lines. “O for a moose on fire!” he shouts and scribbles at the same time, then frowns and crumples up his paper before trying again. “Beware the thighs of Marge!” (Hee-haw.) His charmingly dumb leading actor, Richard Burbage, realizes he’s forgotten to tell Shakespeare that they’d gotten a letter a few months ago, which turns out to have been a commission from Queen Elizabeth to present a new play at her palace on Twelfth Night—that is, in less than two weeks.

Shakespeare despairs, the gay ghost of his rival Christopher Marlowe (Daniel Stoltenberg) shows up, Christmas Carol–like, to goad him into inspiration, and the comedy of errors is on. Directed by Teresa Thuman, Holiday merrily bumps along as Shakespeare and his company of goofballs go to the palace to write and rehearse, tangling themselves in a variety of romantic and political intrigues.

Lawler and Flint cram their script full of familiar Shakespeare tropes—boozy courtiers, scheming power brokers, naive twits, women disguised as men, and witty characters (in this case, Shakespeare and the ghost of Marlowe) who drift just above the action while constantly commenting on it. Elinor Gunn is especially peppy as the redheaded, effusive, and lusty Queen Elizabeth (the so-called “virgin queen”), who cares less about the play than scoring with some of the players. Gunn delivers an unexpectedly scathing monologue toward the end of Holiday about how men can’t abide the idea of a powerful woman who also has a powerful libido—and knows how to both enjoy it and leverage it for practical purposes—earning her a burst of applause that nearly tipped over into a standing ovation.

Holiday of Errors chews up and spits out the usual cultural baggage of late December—carols, Dickens, puritanical killjoys—with easygoing intelligence.  [The show is not] likely to change anyone’s life, but [it’s a good bet] for lightening your mood.

See original article here.

“A Christmas theatrical comedy that is often genius” – Seattle Gay News

Photo: Ken Holmes

Holiday of Errors (or Much Ado About Stockings) is a Christmas theatrical comedy that is often genius

by Miryam Gordon – SGN A&E Writer



Through December 21

It’s new, it’s funny, it’s smart, it spoofs Shakespeare and other stuff, and it’s kind-of sort-of Christmas-y! Holiday of Errors (or Much Ado About Stockings) is a new comedy by Frank Lawler and Daniel Flint. Lawler is an inveterate performer of Shakespeare and other classical theater all over town, so he certainly knows whereof he writes. Flint’s bio shows boatloads of Shakespearian experience as well and an MFA from Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Classical Acting at George Washington University, to boot.Their world premiere production is mounted by Sound Theatre Company and One Lump or Two Productions. Lawler stars as a despondent and broke Will Shakespeare, until he gets a Christmas-time commission from Queen Elizabeth and has to write something in a hurry! He and his little company, Richard (Matt Fulbright), Charlie (Marianna de Fazio playing a man), Aloysius (Terry Boyd) and Lou (Damien Charboneau) get to Whitehall to find that the Queen’s Chamberlain, Sir Christopher Hatton (Ian Bond), and the Mayor (also Terry Boyd) are determined to shut down all the theaters and get rid of actors!

Finding that Queen Elizabeth (Elinor Gunn), far from being virginistic, is quite the lusty woman, they work on a plan to foil the plot. Along with Justin Lynn and Luke S. Walker, and Christopher Marlowe, a rival playwright who may or may not be a ghost (played by Daniel Stoltenberg), the kind-of, sort-of plausible plot devices work their farcical ways and eventually save the day. Spoiler alert! What? You expect a Christmas theatrical comedy to allow theaters to be shut and actors to be banned?

The script is often genius. There are puns every 30 seconds or more that whiz by, so get your ears perked to catch ’em all. There are a few moments that lag and the show could lose about 10 minutes and end up even sharper, but overall, it’s quite fun.

They weave in rewritten Christmas tunes you know, and plotlines from Twelfth Night and other Shakespeare plays. Certainly there are Shakespeare’s lines here and there, as well. Director Teresa Thuman generally manages to keep the hilarity rolling and the frolic frolicking.

A spare set with arches and curtains stands for various locales and we don’t miss more (from Sound Theatre Company veteran Richard Schaefer). Costumes by Justine Wright are appropriate without being fussy.

Would it help if you knew a lot of Shakespeare? Probably, if you want to get most of the puns and jokes, but this is certainly low-brow enough to work even for children, though they should probably be closer to the 10 or 11 year old age.

The production’s got its share of bawdiness and hints of Gay-ety. The talent on stage is a capable lot and fully able to manage much split-second comedy. Charlie, the ‘man’ de Fazio plays, is the smart discerning one in the play, and it is enjoyable watching her try to play personalities against each other to win. Lawler is fully invested in the character of Shakespeare. Gunn has no intention of playing a haughty Queen until one tiny moment near the end where she unleashes her wrath and we can never underestimate her again.

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See original article here. gives Holiday of Errors FOUR STARS

Holiday of Errors” by Frank Lawler and Daniel Flint is a hilarious, fresh and intelligent mash-up of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” and “Richard III” mixed in with desperate doses of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. An accomplished cast, led by Teresa Thuman’s excellent direction, delivers an entertainment that will delight audiences that know a great deal about the Bard and his works and, perhaps, will be even more pleasing to those who have never understood Shakespeare at all. Because these writers are obviously so well-versed in the canon, they are able to effortlessly stir in large dollops of inside jokes and literary transmutations with easy, cheesy comic action. Best of all, none of this seems forced or over-studied, but more like one of those days when you’ve studied desperately for an exam and realize, just before starting the test, that you can’t exactly remember which book which characters were in, or what happened, or why. Time to get really inventive.

The play begins with Shakespeare at his desk on a lonely night in 1593, dashing off one idea after another that is not quite right, desperately trying to get something down for a performance to be performed before the lusty and supercilious Queen Elizabeth on Twelfth Night. As if that were not enough pressure, there is also a movement to close all the theaters in London, and if this show flops there is a high likelihood that the Master will have to retire to his unhappy life in the country. And there are other things going on, including a somewhat helpful visit from the probable ghost of Marlowe, an actor in his troop who is actually a woman (invasion from “Shakespeare in Love”) spirits from the past, present and future, and several players from both inside and outside the court who want to get intimate with her randy Majesty in order to advance their own personal agendas. The play is, perhaps, extended a bit beyond its natural ending, but the action is so fast-paced and interesting that it never seems to lag, and the production maintains a perfect grasp on tone, well-realized characterizations and a general sense of invention that makes all of this borrowed, blasphemed writing feel like improvisation.

As the Bard of Avon, Frank Lawler played Will as a man who never seemed too full of himself, decidedly human-scaled, allowing his greatness to appear more like a costume than a conceit. In one of the more subtle balances of this performance, all of the characters who came from his imagination seemed more vivid and interesting than he himself did. Best of all, Lawler created a Shakespeare who was intuitively connected with the inner-lives and thought processes of the great and powerful. Not hard to believe that this man created characters whom he understood better than they understood themselves.

While this whole ensemble was excellent, I thought Elinor Gunn as Elizabeth was a sheer delight, a woman whose passions for the flesh were greater than her passion for power. She also reveled in a Queen who felt perfectly at ease with her presumed greatness. At the other end of that scale was Matt Fulbright, as Shakespeare’s greatest actor, Richard Burbage (or Dick in this show). Fulbright was always that blank slate on which character could be drawn, and there was never any sense of ego or grandiosity in the actor himself. Similarly, Marianna de Fazio was excellent as the young actor known as Charlie, whom the Queen finds irresistible and who must make her way through the male costumes and identity to her actual person. Daniel Stoltenbergdid a great job of keeping the scandalous Marlowe controlled and still outrageous, and his performance was a perfect example of the careful control of tone throughout the production. Even with the perfectly ridiculous Eddie de Vere, played by Luke S. Walker, it was always clear that this comic fool was just as preposterous to everyone else on stage as he was to us. Terry Boyd, Justin Lynn and Damien Charboneau filled in the rest of the characters with an equal amount of control and comedic accent.

Beautifully mounted with set and lighting design by Richard Schaefer and splendid costumes byJustine Wright, just about everything in this production was done right. Even the very funny Christmas carols, with re-written lyrics to fit the show, managed to feel natural and not forced. The music was handled by Jesse Smith. Above all, though, the coherence and consistency of this silly, delightful romp has to be credited to Teresa Thuman.

“Holiday of Errors, or Much Ado About Stockings” was, for me, the best theatrical surprise so far this Christmas season. I don’t think non-theater people can really appreciate how difficult it is to pull off this kind of parody, but you don’t need much theatrical education to find yourself laughing loudly and frequently at this funny, funny show.





Pictured: Frank Lawler and Matt Fulbright
PHOTO BY: Ken Holmes

Written by: Jerry Kraft

Added: December 12th 2013

View original article here.

Seattle Times Review by Misha Berson

Shakespeare meets Dickens in ‘Holiday of Errors’

Frank Lawler and Daniel Flint’s pun-laden “Holiday of Errors (or Much Ado About Stockings)” borrows liberally from the works of William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens in a nontraditional holiday comedy, which Sound Theatre Company is premiering.

By Misha Berson
Seattle Times theater critic

Marianna de Fazio, left, and Ian Bond in “Holiday of Errors (or Much Ado About Stockings).”

Attention Shakespeare fans who enjoy drinking games! If only Sound Theatre served booze at its current Center House show, it would have the makings of a dandy one.

For if one were to take a sip of ale every time a work by the Bard of Avon was quoted or spoofed, in the troupe’s ungainly but often ingenious new comedy, “Holiday of Errors (or Much Ado About Stockings),” one would be tipsy in no time.

Co-authors Frank Lawler and Daniel Flint have no shame at all in their pun-laden lampoonery of Elizabethan classics. They not only energetically raid Shakespeare texts for gags and one-liners (including one of the top pickup lines from the Bard’s sonnets). They also heartily steal from Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”

Their Will Shakespeare is an arrogant genius and unflappable cynic, played with excellent dry wit by Lawler as a stage Scrooge with writer’s block, given to riffing on the expression “Bah, humbug!.” Archrival playwright Christopher Marlowe (a humorously languid Daniel Stoltenberg) is also on the scene as, more or less, Marley’s ghost — and, preposterously, the Bard’s writing coach.

A broke Will, desperate for royal patronage, whips up the play-within-a-play “King Richard’s Twelfth Night Revels,” a goofy mash-up of “Twelfth Night” and “Richard III” with Christmas songs, to present at court. And foppish aristocrat and poet Edward de Vere (Luke S. Walker) appears in it as the buffoon Sir Anthony Aguecheek. (Some claim de Vere was the real creator of Shakespeare’s canon, but not in this comedic universe.)

“Holiday of Errors” is packed with antic wordplay, both nimble and groansome, and expects its audience to have some prior knowledge (the more the better) of Shakespeare’s plays (comic and tragic), his times (the show is set in London, in the plague year of 1593) and (not essential, but it couldn’t hurt) the basic elements of Elizabethan dramaturgy.

Those who enjoyed Tom Stoppard’s irreverent satire of such, in his Oscar-winning “Shakespeare in Love” screenplay, may appreciate the similarly tongue-in-cheek, if more scattered, approach of Lawler and Flint.

Here the “virgin queen” Elizabeth I (a tiptop Elinor Gunn) is a haughty but lusty sex-crazed gal on the prowl. Sir Christopher Hatton (Ian Bond), who was Lord Chancellor of England during Elizabeth’s reign, has been caricatured as a stiff-necked Puritan — though an assignation with a cross-dressing actress (the adept Marianna de Fazio) loosens him up.

And Richard Burbage (the agreeable Matt Fulbright) really was one of Shakespeare’s favorite and best actors. In this incarnation, he’s also a sort of a pretty-boy lamebrain, rather than the shrewd, theater-owning businessman that history recounts.

No matter. “Holiday of Errors” has a license to exaggerate and turn anything topsy-turvy for a laugh.

What’s needed are some script edits and refinements to a show that could easily lose some of its Falstaffian girth. A number of jests splat, and some bits, especially in the overlong “Richard III” parody, confuse, sputter or slow down the laugh engine.

There’s much to amuse, however. And in addition to the cast’s strengths (which also include Justin Lynn, with his party-dude take on Sir Toby Belch), Teresa Thuman’s animated staging prospers from the period costumes of Justine Wright, and the flexible set design by Richard Schaefer.

Thuman’s Sound Theatre Company has had a breakout year, and this romp closes it on a mirthful note.

Misha Berson:

Original article can be found here.

Review from Arts Stage / Seattle Rage

“Holiday of Errors” Presented by Sound Theatre Company

December 9, 2013 | Author 

Double entendres, slippery syllables, rapid-fire wordplay, and sly jokes! If you are a fan of any or all of these, if you like Shakespeare, then “Holiday for Errors” is for you. Written by Seattle actor and writer Frank Lawler and Washington, DC, actor and Shakespeare authority Daniel Flint, this is a production that provides “the definitive” answer to the relationship between Shakespeare and Marlow, and in the process creates a Christmas confection composed of fractured bits from “Twelfth Night,” “Richard III,” and a bit more.

Matt Fulbright, Elinor Gunn, Frank Lawler, photo by Ken Holmes
(photo: Ken Holmes)

Sound impossible? Not so. This melange brings forth the lame Richard III in company with the gartered Malvolio. You’ll not be surprised that it also has a girl masquerading as a boy. It offers a saucy (let’s say horny) Queen Elizabeth who spends more time plotting her bedroom romps than attending to affairs of state. Unfortunately her stuffy Chamberlain is of the Puritan persuasion and would close down all the theatres and do away with Christmas celebrations. Of course, Christmas and the theatres are saved. Marlow serves as Shakespeare’s muse, and all’s well that ends well.

Richard Schaefer’s simple but elegant set is absolutely lovely, evoking Christmas and serving as a fine Elizabethan background. Schaefer is also the man who designed the lighting that features the most delicate and arresting silhouettes. I’m always amazed when a small theatre company manages to mount a play with lavish costumes. Justine Wright’s Elizabethan outfits for the cast are wonderful.

So, if you’re a Shakespeare fan or enjoy broad humor, come on down to the Center Theatre where Director Teresa Thuman’s concoction offers an unusual Christmas treat.

Through Dec. 21 at Center Theatre in the Seattle Center Armory, in Seattle Center ( or

See original article here.

Review from Drama in the Hood

Drama in the Hood posted a review of Holiday of Errors yesterday:


SOUND THEATER COMPANY saves theater in this Shakespearean, Christmas romp.  In the new comedy from Frank Lawler and Daniel Flint, Holiday of Errors, directed by Teresa Thuman delivers the naughty in this smorgasbord of holiday fun.  Writer Frank Lawler also stars as William Shakespeare struggling to make ends meet as the royal court threatens to close his theater for good.  Against all odds he is invited to Whitehall where he plans to mount a Christmas musical based on his own Richard III.  Modern references to political and popular culture invade the cleverly drawn Shakespearean themes like cross-dressing and over pronounced innuendo, as well as puns, rhymes, and a playfulness with words.  Wrought with racy humor this well acted play takes the idea of saving Christmas, and translates it to saving the theater itself.   The performance takes on a self consciousness as if Holiday of Errors is theater’s last hope.  This urgency compels the story forward as sheer silliness and joy drive the multiple sub plots.

Theater, Christmas, and Christopher Marlowe (Daniel Stoltenberg) are all dead, and the show takes on a Shakespeare in Love feeling as Twelfth Night is gradually being realized through the attempt to mount Richard III, and if you don’t know your Shakespeare much of it will be lost on you, but if you are an insider the witty references will delight you.  The Complete Works of Shakespeare is dropped square in the middle of the holidays.  Marlowe’s ghost appears to Shakespeare, as the already multi-plotted and multi-themed story takes on Dickens, as A Christmas Carol joins the fray of themes fighting for attention.

The main themes are in fact all represented in the stripped down set of pillars, curtains, and holiday wreaths.  The simplicity of the set (Richard Schaefer) is its strength, as minor changes create new spaces; the curtains allowing for settings as intimate as Shakespeare’s writing room, to a wide open space like the hall in the palace of Queen Elizabeth (Elinor Gunn).  The ragdoll costumes (Justine Wright) work well to complement the romp, as bright colors and unexpected ties and holes perfectly match the rag-tag revelry of the cast.  In a show where many actors are playing multiple roles, the obvious theatricality of the attire ties in well with the idea of saving the theater.

Though the story was an exercise to follow, and jokes seemed to, at times, come from all directions, the flat characters were straight from the pages of Shakespeare and when Terry Boyd as Aloysius hilariously asks, “why even bother anymore?” the self-consciousness of the play hits its peak; the meta-theater is complete.

HOLIDAY OF ERRORS  runs December 5th-21st Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30, and Sundays at 2:00.  Center Theater – 305 Harrison Street – in Seattle Center Armory (formerly known as Center House).  (206) 856-5520.  A collaboration with One Lump or Two Productions.

Tickets: or at the door

Article by A.B. Smith

Broadway World Review

Broadway World’s Jay Irwin just published this review:

STC’s HOLIDAY OF ERRORS Makes for a Nicely Naughty Holiday Diversion

Take equal parts Dickens and Shakespeare, add in a healthy spoonful of historical tom-foolery, the zest from a bawdy queen and stir it up til you don’t know one play from another and you’ll have the latest outing from one of the more impressive small theater companies in town, Sound Theatre Company, with their World Premiere of “Holiday of Errors”. And while it may get slightly muddled at times and take just a bit to get started, if you sit back and let the ridiculousness of it wash over you, you’re bound to have a good time.

In this brand new work from Frank Lawler andDaniel Flint, Shakespeare (Lawler) is at the end of his theatrical rope. The theaters have all been closed and no money is coming in, so he’s decided to pack it in and go home to the country. Suddenly a slightly delayed edict comes in from Queen Elizabeth (Elinor Gunn) commissioning him to write something for Twelfth Night, and Shakespeare and his troupe must come up with a show in 12 days that will please the queen and somehow convince the government to keep the theaters open. With little time Shakespeare thinks if he can just rewrite Richard III he can pull it off. But when the ghost of Kit Marlow (Daniel Stoltenberg) shows up and a gender bending page (Marianna de Fazio) tries to woo the Queen on behalf of his master (Ian Bond), events leading up to Twelfth Night begin to look more like the play of “Twelfth Night” mixed up with “A Christmas Carol”.

Lawler and Flint have come up with a wonderfully ribald tale that amounts to a very fun evening. And while much of the play is Shakespeare, there’s nothing high brow about this show as it goes for every dick joke it can find. But beyond the innuendos they also managed to pack in jokes to appeal to the Shakespeare nerds out there. Sometimes it might have been a bit specialized to those nerds but they know their audience. And Director Teresa Thuman keeps the antics and insanity clipping along at a breakneck pace with delightful result.

But it’s the cast that pulls off this crazed show and, with a few minor timing hiccups, pull it off they do. The entire ensemble is quite good but there were some people to whom attention must be paid. Gunn takes the Queen beyond just a randy monarch and layers in a kind of manic intelligence that allowed her to walk off with every scene. Lawler makes a wonderful straight man trying to keep these cats herded together. Also playing off the insanity is the delightful de Fazio who manages a lot of the plot in the piece without ever becoming “exposition girl”. Stoltenberg tackles the mincing foppishness of Marlow perfectly and elicited giggles on each entrance and Matt Fulbright as the lead player Richard Burbage lends an adorable air of dense naiveté to the role.

When all is said and done it’s just plain fun and another palpable hit for Sound Theatre Company as well as a charming addition to the holiday show genre. Everyone tries to create the holiday alternative show and Lawler and Flint have come up with one that has the potential to become a staple, not just here but all over the country.

“Holiday of Errors” performs at the Center Theatre through December 21st. For tickets or information visit them online at

 See original article here.