CST's Comedy of Errors is a warm-hearted, energetic ballet of mistaken identities, young love and running – a lot of running.
At the start of the play, an aged merchant of Syracuse named Egeon (Daniel Cantor) is sentenced to death in the city of Ephesus (Syracusans just aren't supposed to come to Ephesus; it's a feud as unexplained as the whole Montague-Capulet thing). Weary and sorrowful, Egeon explains his situation: he has been seeking his son Antipholus (Andy Truschinski), and servant Dromio (Brian Hamman); they left home years ago in search of their long-lost twin brothers. Unbeknownst to their father, the young men have also landed in Ephesus, where their brothers (also called Antipholus and Dromio; Jackson Doran and Scott Thomas) have lives and wives.
The set-up is confusing, but the humor of most of the play is simple: the Syracusans are taken for their Ephesian twins. The ensuing "errors" are both hilarious and painful, as when Antipholus of Syracuse denies knowing his brother's wife. He's being honest, but the poor lady (Tiffany Scott) is devastated.
The play reaches a fever-pitch of confusion, brilliantly choreographed; under David H. Bell's direction, entrances and exits become punch-lines. The young, vivacious cast seems to be having a splendid time; their pleasure in the lines and movement of the play is infectious. Ana Kuzmanic's clever costumes deserve special mention; they create a kind of code for the audience (Syracusans in pinks; Ephesians in greens) and come together in a bright kaleidoscopic pattern in the final scene.
CST's "Short Shakespeare!" is designed to introduce children to the Bard, and some changes have been made to the play. Speeches have been cut, though the re-sewn seams don't show in performance. More significantly, a frame has been added: as the lights come up, a traveling, Depression-era theater troupe scrambles to choose a Shakespeare play. This initial scene seems designed to ease young playgoers into the make-believe, rag-tag world of theater. It works; from my vantage point, I could see kids of all sizes riveted from beginning to end.