Yesterday, I arrived at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park at 9 AM to stand in line for the free Shakespeare in the Park production of Comedy of Errors. I was closer to the beginning of the line then ever before when I usually arrive at 6 AM or earlier. It is the fourth show and the reviews haven’t come out yet. It is a Tuesday and people work. Lots of college kids in the line. I always had to go on a weekend, because I was working during the weekdays.
The show started at 8:30 PM and lasted 90 minutes without an intermission. The evening was clear and cool which was a relief after the last four hot muggy evenings at Yankee Stadium. The set was colorful with three structures on stage that served as the various settings of the play and revolved to change. The time was the roaring ‘20’s. On stage were three pairs of dancers dancing to swing jazz on the jukebox. They were dressed accordingly.
Comedy of Errors is a comedy I go to when I need to belly laugh. It is a very very funny play and even funnier when produced well, and this production hit all the marks well and was done magnificently. The dancers were the crew who did the set changes as they danced while removing and adding furniture. In this production the same actors played Antipholus and Dromio. For the conclusion a second pair were used, with their backs to the audience. I’ve seen the play done at Hofstra in the late 80’s with twins in these roles and again recently in Stratford with the same actor for each twin like this production.
The key to this very jazzy production was the music, the dancers between scenes, and the physical gymnastics on stage by the entire cast. The movement was ballet/Broadway without the singing, except from the Courtesan. It was a very fast paced, tightly choreographed laugh a minute romp with a neat twist on the character of the Duke played as a stereotype gangster and the nuns as gun toting molls.
What a delightful treat.