Hamlet longs to escape his destiny to rule Denmark, dreaming of becoming an actor. Performing in English, an international cast tell his story in a new surreal adaptation.
I had high expectations for this production, considering the enviable publicity campaign, which reeks of style and quality. Unfortunately, this set the audience up for a fall. From the start, Escaping Hamlet has a decidedly amateurish feel. Where costumes could have seemed lavish, poor sound and lighting failed to garnish the aesthetic sufficiently, making the production appear rather unfinished. The use of drag feels awkward, instead of humorous. What could have been a pleasant homage to Shakespearian acting tradition, instead made me feel a little uncomfortable.
For some reason, the decision was made to add music in the form of continued repetition (in different forms) of the song 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow'. This, a song so overdone that appearing once would have been annoying. Escaping Hamlet uses the song so many times, I worried my ears might bleed to highlight their discomfort.
What is frustrating is that at times there is the sign of some interesting direction, but it never comes to much. Perhaps there are moments that would be improved had the piece been more thoroughly rehearsed. One moment which *does* succeed is Hamlet's play. Performed with a good sense of classical humour, the actors do well to produce a pseudo-puppet show that both intrigues and amuses. This one scene is not enough to make the play bearable and Hamlet's line All my life I've tried to put on a play and it never worked never seemed to ring more true.