“The Comedy of Errors” is a physically funny romp

938
Three actors on stage in costume
The Comedy of Errors: From the left: Jeffrey Marc Alkins, Marcella Cox, and Billie Wyatt. Photo by Avery Brunkus

You should have a rollicking good time

Comedy of Errors actors performing
The Comedy of Errors: From the left: Karl Hawkins, Kirby Davis, Isaac Hickox-Young, and Dino Curia. Photo by Avery Brunkus

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey has brought live theatre back, and their season opener couldn’t have been a better choice. Shakespeare’s early work, The Comedy of Errors, becomes a laugh-filled romp when presented by the talented cast currently at the outdoor theatre at the College of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station.

The story takes place in ancient Italy. Twenty years earlier, two sets of identical twins were separated and ended up in the now-feuding cities of Syracuse and Ephesus. The twins from Syracuse have been searching for their missing counterparts and have arrived in Ephesus. Antipholus of Syracuse and his slave Dromio are bachelors and are trying to keep a low profile in Ephesus. However, Antipholus of Ephesus and his slave Dromio are married and well-known around the town. A series of mistaken identity situations escalate into a near-disaster—but, since this is a comedy, all turns out for the best.

Director Brian B. Crowe directs a talented cast of lovers and clowns, headed by Jeffrey Marc Alkins as the two Antipholi and Billie Wyatt as the twin Dromios. Also, standouts in the cast are Ellie Gossage as Adriana, wife to Antipholus of Ephesus; Katja Yacker as Luciana, Adriana’s sister; Dino Curia as Egeon, father of the Antipholus twins; and Marcella Cox, hilarious in the two smaller roles of the Courtesan and the Abbess.

The clever set, all-sky blue and white doors are by designer Baron Pugh, while the Victorian costuming by Paul Canada adds a colorful touch to the evening. A clever addition to the proceedings is the way the actors deal with airplanes from nearby Morristown Airport passing over the theatre.t

It is unusual to see a production of The Comedy of Errors in which both sets of twins are played by single actors, yet this production manages to pull it off with style. Judging from the reaction of the opening night audience, I think that anyone spending time at this tale of the misadventures of these sets of identical twins will have a rollicking good time. I recommend seeing the Shakespeare Theatre’s production of The Comedy of Errors!

The Comedy of Errors is presented by the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey at the outdoor theatre at the College of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station in repertory with Snug, a new play by Bonnie J. Monte, until August 1st.

For the performance schedule, to order tickets, or for more information, contact the Shakespeare Theatre at ShakespeareNJ.org or at 973-408-5600.

Allen Neuner is the theater reviewer at Out in Jersey magazine. Jersey born and raised, Allen went to his first live play in 1957 and has been deliriously in love with live theater ever since. He works in the box office at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick. He has been partnered to music reviewer Bill Realman Stella, with whom he is also deliriously in love, for over 20 years. They live in an over-cluttered house in Somerville.