Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Comedy of Errors

"The Comedy of Error" presented by The Public Theater at Delacorte Theater, June 2, 2013

(photo by Joan Marcus)

The first of the Public Theater's presentations of Shakespeare in the Park is Shakespeare's take on Plautus' Menaechmi, complicated with an extra set of twins separated as small children.  There's no adaptation credit given in the playbill, but one might presume that dramaturg Robert Blacker was pivotal in the streamlining of the book down to a 90 minute one-act.  The result is a farce set in a 1940s Ephesus, complete with a jitterbugging, lindy hopping chorus gathered around the jukebox - - Shakespeare meets Guy and Dolls

Director Daniel Sullivan focuses his energies around Hamish Linklater and Jesse Tyler Ferguson as they take on the dual roles of Antipholus and Dromio, respectively.  Mr. Linklater achieves the greater success in creating two distinct characters around the long-lost brothers.  Mr. Ferguson comes in a close second.  Heidi Schreck also manages to find her way as Luciana.  Skip Suddeth brings us a Tony Soprano-style Duke.  The rest of the cast is serviceable if unremarkable, except for Emily Bergl's gasp-worthy pratfall as Adriana.

The pace is good.  The costumes colorful and sets work nicely.  There are plenty of laughs. It's a good night in Central Park.

Tickets are free, distributed the day of each show at the Delacorte box office in Central Park.  The Comedy of Errors runs through June 30.

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