Joan Marcus
Thom Geier
June 19, 2013 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Comedy of Errors

Current Status
In Season
run date
Emily Bergl, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Hamish Linklater, Heidi Schreck
Daniel Sullivan
William Shakespeare

We gave it a B+

Shakespeare’s early play The Comedy of Errors gets an ebullient screwball revival in Central Park’s Delacorte Theater as part of the Public Theater’s free Shakespeare in the Park program. The Bard’s complicated mistaken-identities plot has been condensed down to a lean 90 minutes, and stars Hamish Linklater and Jesse Tyler Ferguson work double-time — literally. Linklater plays twin brothers, both named Antipholus, who were separated in infancy and raised in separate cities. (He’s more convincing as the sweet-natured Antipholus of Syracuse than as two-timing cad Antipholus of Ephesus.) Ferguson plays another pair of twins, both named Dromio, who serve as loyal but clownish manservants to the Antipholi. (The Modern Family star is a hoot, making the most of all his behind-the-scenes scrambling to enter the stage far from the spot where he only just exited.)

Director Daniel Sullivan has cleverly set the action in the early 20th century, with Ephesus mobsters dressed in pinstriped suits shaking down foreigners from Syracuse (pronounced Italian-style, with an extra syllable) — and he stretches out the scene changes with some period interludes of swing dancing that match the jazzy spirit of the show. This Comedy of Errors is like theatrical cotton candy, light as air and best enjoyed al fresco. B+


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