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Last Updated: Friday, 23 May, 2003, 18:58 GMT 19:58 UK
Shakespeare goes hip-hop
One of the characters is based on Eminem
Another modernised version of a William Shakespeare has reached the West End stage - this time a hip-hop update of The Comedy Of Errors.

The show, called The Bomb-itty of Errors, features four actors rapping the lines of the original, together with human beatboxes and live DJing.

As in the original, the plot is based on two pairs of twins, separated at birth, turning up in the same place twenty years on.

"It started out as a thesis project," actor Chris Edwards told BBC World Service's The Ticket programme.

"It was the experimental wing in NYU [New York University].

"They originally decided they wanted to do something from Kafka, and then ended up doing this treatment on Comedy Of Errors."

Perfect project

Edwards added that Shakespeare's words in his original script had provided an ideal basis for a rap-based show.

"They guys wanted to find a form where they could use hip-hop in the theatre and try to marry the two together," he said.

"This seemed like the perfect project because of the rhyming of the original play."

The Bomb-itty Of Errors started off in New York, but has now worked its way to London's West End.

Bomb-itty Of Errors
The characters update with changes in the hip-hop world
All 16 characters - including at one stage Shakespeare himself, as well as a monkey - are played by just four actors.

"I think that hip-hop is doing things to language the same way that Shakespeare was doing years ago," said Joe Fernandes Colski, another of the performers in the play.

"It's flipping things in new ways, and it very much comes from the same place, the same roots, and that's what's exciting about this show."

Character updates

The actors also stressed their pleasure at constantly being able to update their characters according to changes in the hip-hop world.

"There's a lot of freedom inside the piece," said Rani, whose role provides much of the comedy as he fails to rhyme his rapping successfully.

"You can take what they originally did around '98, '97, and now take it to contemporary hip-hop figures - I do a spin-off with my hip-hop character kind of being like Eminem."

Rani also explained the meaning of the play's title to anyone uninitiated with rap terms.

"It's just a play on the phrase, the bomb being kind of the ultimate in hip-hop slang," he said.

"It's basically saying Bomb-itty is the coolest comedy."

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