Hamlette

I’m not adverse to Shakespeare re-imaginings. They can be funny, they can be thought provoking. Not Hamlette.

Hamlette consists of a cast of four young actresses taking the story of Hamlet and butchering it into an unrecognisable, hysterical mess. I literally do mean hysterical: within the first five minutes one girl was screeching (I do not use that word lightly) at the top of her lungs and having a fit (I can only assume that was what it was). Volume control was certainly an issue throughout the half hour performance. There seemed to be a lot of screaming and the first six rows could have done with a ‘deaf zone’ warning.

There is no typo above - the story of Hamlet is condensed into half an hour. We were told this was done because the performance didn’t need to be a ‘boring three hour production all about death.’ Fair enough, do you own re-imagining. Make it interesting, make it funny, make it original. Hamlette did none of these things. Instead, it was turned into a teenage soap opera with a horribly Americanised script. Really, if they had said ‘whatever’ one more time I would have screamed - it was utterly uncreative and unimaginative. Using poor Yorick’s skull as a football perhaps fitted in with what the company were trying to create, but since what they created was tasteless and trashy, I must disagree with it. I’m sure Yorick wouldn’t have appreciated the ‘touchdown’ they scored with him.

I have mixed feelings regarding the adaptation, though. On one hand, when the original script was used, it was as if the performers had no idea what they were saying. ‘To be or not to be’ could have been a shopping list, ticking off one word at a time. This makes me think it was perhaps a good thing to rework the script: at least so the cast would understand what was going on. Generally through during Hamlette’s brief usage of the original script she would descend into a sort of mumble. Stumbling over words and muttering could have been avoided with some good rehearsal time but apparently enunciating wasn’t important for Hamlette.

The redeeming quality of this show was the last 15 minutes. It was wonderfully entertaining to watch and I would definitely go see the cast do a whole show of this little treat. The girls really showed where their talents lie, and it certainly wasn’t in acting.

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Performances

The Blurb

What if Hamlet was Hamlette - a woman!? Hamlette is a twisty-turny comedic interpretation of the classic Danish tale. Why spend four hours telling the story when five actors can get the job done in 30 minutes?

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