I Hate Hamlet
An old-school farce, one that expects you to accept a few extraordinary notions if you’re going to be able to enter into the spirit of the thing. For starters, that ghosts exist — in particular, the house-bound ghost of John Barrymore, whom Orson Welles dubbed the best Hamlet he had ever seen. You’ll play along? Then howabout a modern New York City gal who’s crazy in love with her actor beau, but refuses to sleep with him until she’s sure he’s The One? Still with us? Then try this on: an actor who auditions five times for the lead in a Shakespeare-in-the-Park production of The Danish Play, only to waffle when he actually gets offered the gig, and who turns around and waffles again when offered the alternative of the lead in a TV series? All in? O-kay then.
The opening setup is a bit sitcommy, but things pick up once John DeCarlo arrives as Barrymore: prowling and prancing, preening and pontificating. He’s a hoot, thanks in no small part to his light touch with his own imposing physicality. He’d be ridiculous if he weren’t utterly serious about his mission to anoint a successor, and that’s no small part ofwhat makes him funny. It’s mostly DeCarlo’s show, except when Adam Daniel shows up as a Hollywood player who understands that “when people see you’re starring in the greatest play in the English language, they’re gonna know you’re washed up.” His earnest assurance: “This theatre thing…we’ll beat it together!” The ending winds up being the silliest bit, but that’s not the production’s fault, and it’s not terribly important. If you’re in the audience, you already know about the magic of theater. And there’s enough of that here.
Ongoing until Sunday, June 12, 2022
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