Youâ€™ll have made a serious mistake if you didnâ€™t catch â€œThe Comedy of Errors,â€ now in its final week on Boston Common.
For the 14th summer, the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (CSC), under the direction of Founding Artistic Director Steven Maler, is presenting free performances of one of the Bardâ€™s plays at the Parkman Bandstand.
Realizing the need this year for something light, Maler selected â€œErrors,â€ the playwrightâ€™s shortest work and (some think) his earliest effort.
Being himself the father of twins, Shakespeare combined elements from Greek and Roman twin-themed comedies to create even more farcical misunderstandings when two pairs of doubles start popping up in each other lives.
No togas in this production! Maler chose to transport the action from ancient Ephesus to South Beach, Florida, in the â€˜30s, giving himself wide berth to embellish Shakespeareâ€™s mix-ups with Latin-flavored musical selections like â€œPapa Loves Mamboâ€ and â€œdumb shows,â€ elaborate comic crowd scenes interludes.
Maler enlisted two of Bostonâ€™s most accomplished comic actors to play the Tweedledum/Tweedledee roles of the hapless servants. ARTâ€™s Remo Airaldi fidgets and giggles in a hilarious â€œbig babyâ€ ways as Dromio of Ephesus, while Elliot Norton-winning Larry Coen unleashes his mighty arsenal of accents and double-takes to eke the humor from even the unlikeliest of Shakespeareâ€™s quips.
Josh Stammell and Dan Roach get a surprising number of guffaws themselves as the Antipholi, the Dromiosâ€™ respective masters.
The whole company is strong as they cavort on Jon Savageâ€™s Streamline Modern Art Deco multilevel set, done in shades of blue and gunmetal to show to a advantage all the oranges and whites of David Israel Reynosoâ€™s amusing period costumes.
The whole frothy frolic culminates in an elaborately choreographed production number: vampy Rebecca Whitehurst (Courtesan) leads the company in a rousing version of the Irving Berlin classic â€œLetâ€™s Face the Music and Dance.â€
Among the hardworking ensemble are two Dorchester actors, Cheo Bourne (Dr. Pinch) and Lucas Lloyd, both with impressive Shakespearean credentials. Far from standing around carrying spears, theyâ€™re in the thick of Malerâ€™s comic mob scenes, (â€œmobâ€ as in â€œThe Sopranosâ€) and understudy some lead roles.
You canâ€™t go wrong with this grand Boston summer tradition. Performances at the Bandstand run through this coming Sunday. (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7 p.m., Sunday at 8 p.m.) For additional details, check in at commshakes.org.