The Comedy of Errors | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The Comedy of Errors 

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Shakespeare's silliest comedy--which borrows freely from its source, an equally silly comedy by Plautus--often tempts misguided directors and actors to wallow in bad puns, paper-thin characters, and painfully stupid slapstick scenes. And this open-air production falls into all the traps laid by Shakespeare's coincidence-laden, totally unbelievable story about the chaotic doings when two pairs of long-separated twins end up in the same town at the same time. Jack Hickey's staging is packed with annoyingly over-the-top acting, unfunny physical bits, and lovers who don't seem the least bit interested in each other. Only 2 of the 16 cast members--Katherine Banks and Mercy Oni--create credible, fully realized characters free of the actor's tricks that make the rest of them grating after only a few minutes. Through 8/22: Thu-Sun 8 PM. Sun 7/17 and 8/7, 4 and 8 PM (4 PM shows preceded by "Family Day" activities beginning 3:15 PM). Oak Park Festival Theatre, Austin Gardens, Forest and Lake, Oak Park, 708-445-4440. $5-$25; dinner packages available.

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