The reviews are in and critics are raving about THE COMEDY OF ERRORS (which opened Saturday June 30 to a packed house and a surprise mid-act onslaught of loud and high-flying fireworks) now playing through July 29 on the Outdoor Stage at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey! Sean stars as Dromio of Ephesus in the production, directed by Jason King Jones.
“The Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey came through with flying colors (appropriately enough) when that potential disaster befell the troupe last weekend. At first, actors just tried to shout over the booming explosions.
Then, following theater’s prime directive, “Use it,” cast members began to react to the fireworks — in character. At one point, the actors onstage simply stopped to watch the display, as if observing a strange phenomenon in the sky over ancient Ephesus. And a few at a time, other cast members wandered onstage to join them and marvel silently. Inspired by the company’s spontaneity, a few people in the audience began singing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and many fellow theatergoers joined in.
More important, even without the added dramatics, this production of “The Comedy of Errors,” inventively directed by Jason King Jones, is a stylish, beautifully acted show that treats Shakespeare’s comedy as true farce – it is extremely fun to watch.
“The Comedy of Errors” is a classic example of mistaken identity leading to ridiculous situations and ultimately to major revelations and reunions. Antipholus of Syracuse (Matthew Simpson, who was in the company’s “Servant of Two Masters” two seasons ago) and his slave, Dromio (Jack Moran), arrive in Ephesus. Antipholus doesn’t realize that his long-lost twin brother, Antipholus of Ephesus (Philip Mutz), and his slave’s long-lost twin, Dromio of Ephesus (Sean Hudock), live there. They are about to be mistaken for them by a variety of Ephesians, including Antipholus of Ephesus’ affectionate wife, Adriana (Amanda Duffy), who likes having him home for lunch. Catch the full review here.
“Don’t think for a moment that this prevented this fine company of farceurs from taking ownership of their predicament and allowing it to become part of the ensuing fun. The company cleverly proceeded to embrace this noisy and colorful intrusion and take full advantage of every opportunity to make it fit into the plot as well as serve their character’s personal agenda.
Although audiences attending the show through the 4th of July may also have the pleasure of on-high rocketry, the on-stage activities may be commended without reservation.” Catch the full review here.
“Fast and furious” is a rather murky name for a federal gun-running scheme now under investigation by Congress, but it very aptly describes the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s current production of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors, now wreaking havoc at the outdoor stage on the campus of the College of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station!
Adopting the conventions of more modern farce—slamming doors, lots of running around—director Jason King Jones has come up with a totally satisfying and very funny version of this, probably the Bard’s first play, that runs a family-friendly 95 minutes with one intermission. The energetic (and talented) cast is up to the task, stopping briefly for an airplane droning over head and for a longer period when a very noisy fireworks display erupted nearby.
“Summer after summer, the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey has been bringing outstanding family oriented productions of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies to its annual Outdoor Stage productions. As this summer’s production of the Bard’s The Comedy of Errors is inventive and imaginative, lavishly staged, delightfully acted and hilarious. There is little left for a reviewer to do other than to roll out the superlatives.
To the delight of its audience, it has become well established that Outdoor Stage Shakespeare comedy is to be played broadly in classic vaudevillian slapstick fashion. Director Jason King Jones wisely sticks to the template, but he does so with the skill of a director who knows and loves the style, and can maximize and extend the laughter and delight inherent in it.
It is long and full enough to be a fully satisfying evening in the theatre for adults and, with its intermission, short enough not to overtax the staying power of most youngsters. It is so good that it likely will spark a lifelong interest in theatre and stage literature in some of them.” Catch the full review here.
“The fun begins when Dromio of Ephesus (Sean Hudock) — mistaking Antipholus of Syracuse for his master, Antipholus of Ephesus (Philip Mutz) — attempts to drag the puzzled Syracusan home to dinner, where wife Adriana awaits.
It’s an utterly hilarious show. As if things weren’t giddy enough, some offstage doings brought the hilarity to a whole other level on opening night. A major fireworks display was just revving up in an adjacent field as the plot onstage was thickening. The actors gamely tried to speak over the din, even adjusting their slapstick moves to the rhythmic explosions. Eventually it was too much, and the characters all just lined up on the set, facing the fireworks in silence (Dromio of Ephesus put his hat on his heart). Then a voice in the audience sang out… and the rockets red glare… and we all sang along through the rest of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” At the pyrotechnics’ orgasmic finale, Dr. Pinch ran back on stage to “conjure up” the deafening explosions.
That’s the mark of a brilliant and resourceful cast. I can’t guarantee you’ll have such surprises for the rest of the run, but I assure you this production, directed by Jason King Jones, produces fireworks enough for a memorable evening of theater under the stars.” Catch the full review here.
Director Jones did a fine job of reaching back to both the 1590s and 1920s for this play that was so full of mirth. He received stellar performances from a fine cast. The Dromios, Sean Hudock and Jack Moran, who looked and performed just like Chico Marx, of the Marx Brothers, were hilarious.
The Comedy of Errors is a summertime blast for all.”Catch the full review here.
The delightful conclusion was somewhat anticlimactic at this point, but the cast could hardly be blamed. On a night when they found themselves up against some truly bizarre competition, they proved that the lights in the sky were not the only stars.
I can’t promise you the same pyrotechnic performance, but it’s hard to imagine anyone not having a special evening in this splendid company. Once again, even in a heat wave, the Shakespeare Theatre’s annual outdoor celebration of live theater is the coolest treat of the summer.” Catch the full review here.