The Comedy of Errors
The first installment of this summer’s Shakespeare in the Park season is not exactly ambitious: a slimmed-down, family-friendly version of “The Comedy of Errors,” an early, relatively lightweight Shakespeare play marked mainly by physical slapstick built around a mistaken identity premise.
Antipholus (Hamish Linklater) and his manservant Dromio (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) of Syracuse, who have been searching the world for their respective long-lost twins, come upon the city of Ephesus, where everyone seems to already know them, which they find frightening.
The reason, of course, is that they have come upon the home of their identical-looking brothers and are mistaken as them by everyone — including Antipholus’ neglected wife Adriana (Emily Bergl).
Also in town is Egeon (Jonathan Hadary), the father of the Antipholus twins, who has been sentenced to death for breaking a law forbidding travel between Ephesus and Syracuse.
But being short and sweet isn’t necessarily a bad thing for free summertime entertainment. In fact, Daniel Sullivan’s breezy 90-minute production is sure to appeal to children and adults that are less familiar or comfortable with Shakespeare. Ideally, any Shakespeare in the Park production should be so inclusive.
“The Comedy of Errors” plays at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park through June 30. Go to publictheater.org for info on obtaining free tickets.