Sexy Shakespeare

Comedy of Errors

Where’s your hooded sweatshirt?

Where’s your hooded sweatshirt?

Photo courtesy of Lake Tahoe Shakespeare

The Comedy of Errors, 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $27-$99. Outdoors at Sand Harbor, Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park, 2005 Highway 28, in Incline Village, Nevada; (800) 747-4697; Through August 21.
Rated 4.0

Just in time for the upcoming Summer Olympics, the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival offers this lively modern take on The Comedy of Errors, set in Rio de Janeiro during Carnival. This cheeky romp is set to a Brazilian samba beat, with scantily clad masked revelers drinking and dancing throughout. This giddy approach actually complements Shakespeare’s freewheeling farce about long-separated identical twins who turn up in the same exotic city (unbeknownst to each other), setting off a chain reaction of mistaken identity incidents involving money, jewelry and arrests, resulting in comedic chaos (and a happy ending).

Tahoe Shakespeare has been beefing up its productions—this elaborate show features a generous 17 professional actors (mostly from the Midwest and East Coast), plus a few Tahoe locals. With abundant music and sound cues, stylish choreography and sexy costumes, this Comedy resembles one of Sacramento’s Music Circus extravaganzas more than a cerebral Shakespeare staging. This is a glossier “big box” mounting than you’ll see at other outdoor Shakespeare fests in the Bay Area, and much larger than Shakespeare shows in Sacramento. (There’s also blatant cross-marketing for Tahoe Shakespeare’s other summer show—the four guys in white tuxedos from Forever Plaid pop up singing the 1940s standard “Perfidia,” a scene not found in Shakespeare’s script, but in the context of this “anything goes” production, it works.)

The steamy sambas notwithstanding, attendees are well advised to bring a hooded sweatshirt—the mountain air at lakeside cools quickly after sundown.