Sunday, February 5, 2017

CT Theater Review: The Comedy of Errors -- Hartford Stage

The cast of The Comedy of Errors. Photo: T. Charles Erickson
The Comedy of Errors
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Darko Tresnjak
Hartford Stage
Through Feb. 12

By Lauren Yarger
What's It All About?
Shakespeare's comedy (well. one of them) about twins and mistaken identity, this one set on an island off the coast of Greece in 1965.  Darko Tresnjak offers a playful take including songs from the modern era ("Never on a Sunday") and exotic dance numbers.

Tyler Lansing Weaks and Ryan-James Hatanaka play twins who are separated and grow up as Antipholus of Syracuse and Antipholus of Ephesus. Their twin servants, Dromio of Syracuse (Alan Schmuckler) and Dromio of Ephesus (Matthew Macca) also are separated. When the Syracuse guys arrive in Ephesus, there is room for lots of mistaken identity, especially for Adriana (Jolly Abraham), the wife of Antipholus of Ephesus and Luciana (Mahira Kakkar). Adriana's sister and the object of Antipholus of Syracuse's affections.

What Are the Highlights?
It's different. Musicians Louis Tucci and Alexander Sovronsky (Composer/Music Director/Arranger) play Mediterranean tunes boat side on  a dock-like set designed by Director Darko Tresnjak in front of a hilly Greek backdrop. Getting some spotlight in the talented ensemble are Joanna Morrison as abbess Aemilia and Noble Shropshire as the twins' father, Aegeon, and Tara Heal as Nell, an amusingly overweight kitchen maid.

90 minutes, no intermission. Perfect for this type of romp.

What Are the Lowlights?
The comedy and exaggerated sound effects are forced and the slapstick doesn't work. The transition from the opening of "Never on a Sunday" is too stark to the strains of the Bard's language.

More Information: 
The Comedy of Errors runs through Feb. 12 at Hartford Stage, 50 Church St., Hartford.  Perfromance times vary. Tickets are $25-$90: hartfordstage.org.

Additional credits: 
Choreography Peggy Hickey; Costume Design Fabio Toblini; Lighting Design
Matthew Richards; Sound Design Jane Shaw; Associate Scenic Designer Colin McGurk; Hair and Wig Design Tom Watson; Makeup Design Tommy Kurzman; Fight Choreographer Greg Webster; Voice and Text Coach Claudia Hill-Sparks; Assistant Director Allison Gold; Assistant Scenic Designer Stephen Carmody; Assistant Lighting Designer Michael Blagys; Assistant Sound Designer Natalie Houle; Assistant Wig Designer Tommy Kurzman.

Additional cast:
Angelo Brendan Averett, Louis Butelli, Paula Leggett Chase. Michael Elich, Kalob Martinez, Lauren Bricca, Jamaal Fields-Green, Daisy Infantas, Evan McReddie, Monica Owen, Tyler Pisani

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Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)

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