'Errors' cast's talents shine; Shakespeare: A no-frills performance of Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors" sparkles.; Review; ARUNDEL LIVE

Weather and box-office success conspired to turn Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors" into something of a work in progress during its first weekend on the Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre stage.

Rain, and the extra performances of "Jesus Christ Superstar" presented to accommodate the crowds who flocked to see Summer Garden's biggest success in years, rendered impossible a seamless transition into the season's second offering, which will run at 8:30 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays through July 29.


But even without music, special effects lighting and other wrinkles that director Carol Youmans wanted to have for the opening weekend, the outline of a robust, adept Shakespearean experience is in place. If this talented cast continues to pull itself together - particularly in the hilarious final scene, which was way too disjointed and tentative Sunday evening to be as funny as it needs to be - Summer Garden will have another hit on its hands.

The plot of "The Comedy of Errors" proves beyond doubt that sitcom humor was alive and well in the Elizabethan Age. In brief, two sets of male twins separated at birth meet unknowingly on the streets of a 17th-century Mediterranean village and proceed to wreak comic havoc in the form of miscommunication, misinterpretation and mistaken identity. Truly, it's the stuff of which delightful farce is made.


Some talented players are seizing more than their share of laughs on the Summer Garden stage.

Most impressive are Adam Day and Ian Depew, as the identical brothers Dromio, servants to the Antipholus brothers, the other pair separated at birth. Both Dromios cavort across the stage with comic flair, especially 15-year-old Ian Day of Calverton School.

Colin Smith does a delightful slow burn as Antipholus of Ephesus, the poor fellow who gets locked out of his house, arrested and, finally, taken for a madman, all after being mistaken for the twin brother he never knew he had.

Barry Genderson dispenses the most idiomatic Shakespearean patter as the out-of-town Antipholus, who can't fathom the strong reactions he's engendering from people he doesn't know. He's especially funny when putting amorous moves on his "wife's" sister, Luciana, who is played rather primly but attractively by Elise Berg.

Delightful moments also come from Ericka Butler as Adriana, the poor wife who can't understand why her husband claims not even to know her at one moment and accuses her of locking him out of their house at the next.

A one-word message to the full cast: More! More fun, more abandon, more volume (ladies especially), and more study of your lines and pacing in that final scene.

Information and reservations: 410-268-9212.