With free croissants thrown in, who could say no?
Things are not right in Elsinore: the king is dead, Claudius has married his widow and young Hamlet is creatively frustrated in his work as a film director. What follows is one of the most self-aware and funny interpretations of Shakespeare’s Hamlet you could ask for. And even better, although the show wildly oscillates between subtle and utterly bizarre, it’s a surprisingly faithful distillation of Hamlet into a single 55-minute show, using a very minimal set. To pick apart the cast is impossible because they are all so strong in their myriad parts. There is no weak link in this production, and it shows: every cast member has impeccable comic timing (and surprisingly strong accent work). Fittingly, all of them are rapier-sharp, and deliver both modified soliloquies and farcical physical comedy with equal skill. They are the show’s biggest strength and greatest asset, and they should all be proud of their performances.
It’s unfortunate, however, that while some of the pop-culture references make for the funniest parts of the show, many seem completely unneeded, and some are downright unfunny, feeling more like an indulgent in-joke rather than a performance piece. Such jokes are frequent in the first ten minutes of the show, which makes for a rocky start.
However, despite a few stumbles, this is another tour-de-force. And with free croissants thrown in, who could say no? The free coffee was shaky rather than Shakespearean, but luckily the show was so good, it provided a buzz all of it’s own.