Thursday, September 18, 2014

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NY1 Theater Review: "The Comedy Of Errors"

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Stars of stage and screen Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Hamish Linklater lead Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors," now playing at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park. NY1's Roma Torre filed the following review.

I'm sure there was no swing dancing during Shakespeare's time, just as 16th century actors didn't speak with Brooklyn accents but I bet the giddy pleasures that Elizabethan audiences derived from the bard’s comedies 400 years ago are matched by the current reception to the joyful romp that is "The Comedy of Errors" in Central Park.

Let’s face it, "The Comedy of Errors," built entirely on the mistaken identities of two sets of twins, is pretty thin fare, and so it's ripe for jazzing up. And here, director Daniel Sullivan who's distinguished himself in many park productions scores a direct hit on the funny bone. Setting the play in the 1930's as a turf war in which the city of Ephesus is run by mobster types inspires some wonderfully farcical conceits. The duke, here pronounced "dook," is right out of Damon Runyon and the fluid scene changes featuring fab swing dancers are entertaining in their own right.

Of course, it takes serious talent to make comedy sing...and Sullivan peppered his cast with some of the best. Emily Bergl and Heidi Schreck are terrific as chronically vexed sisters Adriana and Luciana.

Best of all Jesse Tyler Ferguson, from TV's "Modern Family" and Hamish Linklater as both sets of twins – the servants Dromio, and their masters Antipholus. Impressively each actor was able to craft very different comic profiles, keeping confusion at bay amid the wild antics. With timing like this all's very well indeed.

When spaghetti lands on heads and nuns show up with guns, you're either in for a long night or a memorably funny one. It's clear where I stand. They don't speak the speech as much as talk the talk and in between – lots of laughter.

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