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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Make No Mistake: “The Comedy of Errors” Is Surefire Fun

Theater Review

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A pair of tennis shoes hangs over a power line that connects to a streetlamp. The houses and shops speak of Europe, though a variety of foreign elements suggests a country at the crossroads of many cultures. This is where American Players Theatre (APT) has set its production of Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors, in a place of international intrigue in the late-1930s or early-1940s.

When Marcus Truschinski enters as Antipholus of Syracuse, he's dressed in the trench coat and fedora of Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca. His father (played by David Daniel) wears the familiar clothing of Indiana Jones when the police pursue him. The shirt is blue and there's no bullwhip, but the similar appearance is still uncanny.

The production's nod to the '40s creates a fun atmosphere for one of Shakespeare's most popular comedies. The casting doesn't hurt, either. Brothers Andrew and Marcus Truschinski play estranged twin brothers from different towns. Convincing hair and costume design make the two look nearly identical. The similarity between the twins' identical servants (played by Steve Haggard and Darragh Kennan) is just as surreal. Director William Brown has brilliantly orchestrated all of the bewildering details of mistaken identity that make this play so beloved. Along with Brown's direction, the four actors at the center of the play ensure that this energetic production is the most fun had at APT in the past few years. This one is well worth the trip west to Spring Green.

The American Players Theatre's production of The Comedy of Errors runs through Oct. 4.

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