In the new production by the Acting Company in association with the Guthrie Theater, Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors goes down easy, a light frolic that amps up the goofy physical comedy.
It’s not one of Shakespeare’s world-beating masterpieces, but The Comedy of Errors makes for a fine evening of easy humor. Through unlikely (to say the least) circumstances, Antipholus of Syracuse (Jonathan C. Kaplan) and his servant Dromio of Syracuse (John Skelley) arrive in Ephesus, where their previously-unbeknownst identical twins Antopholus of Ephesus (Jason McDowell-Green) and Dromio of Ephesus (Stephen Pilkington)—also in a master-servant relationship—keep fine residence. All manner of hijinks related to mistaken identity ensue.
|the comedy of errors, presented through january 30 at the guthrie theater. for information and tickets ($15-$40), see guthrietheater.org.
The Acting Company Shakespeare productions I’ve previously seen—Henry V and Romeo and Juliet—have been marked by natural-sounding line readings. That’s not so much the case here, as the actors enunciate vigorously and deliberately, but director Ian Belknap keeps the comic timing snappy. As the lead actors become more and more consternated by their confusing situation—McDowell-Green looks like he’s about to get a hernia in his forehead—the supporting cast shines, notably Sid Solomon as a groovy goldsmith and Elizabeth Grullon as a put-upon courtesan whose lines could be collectively paraphrased as, “I’m too sexy for this bullshit.”
Neil Patel’s set, with shifting fabric panels, is breezy and economical; the real star of the production, though, is costume designer Candice Donnelly. This Comedy is better than a runway show, bursting with sumptuous colors and cartoonish cuts. Particular standouts are the perky dress worn by Luciana (Elizabeth Stahlmann) and Angelo’s swingin’ ensemble, which pairs a vast scarf with a leisure-suit-like ensemble that fits the character’s fancy for gold chains. They say this bard Bill is a bad mother…shut your mouth!