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.