The sun has come out again–bet your bottom dollar, it has–shining as bright as a headful of carrot-red hair, in the current revival of the “Little Orphan Annie”-inspired, Depression-era musical, “Annie”.
Equally charming is the first Shakespeare in the Park offering of the summer, “The Comedy of Errors”. Two sets of twins–one the servants, the other their masters–1930s gangsters (director Daniel Sullivan has given the play, one of Shakespeare’s earliest, a distinctly “Guys and Dolls”-type vibe), lusty wenches, clueless cops, confusion and befuddlement at every turn as one twin keeps being mistaken for the other…this production packs an awful lot into a fast-paced ninety minutes, including fine comic turns by Jesse Tyler Ferguson (TV’s “Modern Family”) as the servants, both named Dromeo, and Hamish Linklater (“42”) as Antipholus. It’s even got some high-spirited dancers performing to the music of the period, not only before the tale begins, but also during the swift (and frequent) set changes. Is it a great show? No. The Bard was very much on a learning curve here; his true masterpieces came later. But for what it is–pure, unadulterated entertainment–it succeeds beautifully.
(NOTE: “The Comedy of Errors” played its final performance on June 30th. The next Shakespeare in the Park production, a musical version of “Love’s Labour’s Lost”, opens July 23rd.)
THEATRE REVIEWS by Stuart R. Brynien