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I Hate Hamlet
a Comedy
by Paul Rudnick

COMPANY : Stage Door Players [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Stage Door Players [WEBSITE]
ID# 4849

SHOWING : January 29, 2016 - February 21, 2016



A young and successful television actor relocates to New York, where he rents a marvelous, gothic apartment. With his television career in limbo, the actor is offered the opportunity to play Hamlet onstage, but there’s one problem: he hates Hamlet. His dilemma deepens with the entrance of John Barrymore’s ghost, who arrives intoxicated and in full costume to the apartment that once was his. The contrast between the two actors leads to a wildly funny duel over women, art, success, duty, television, and yes, the apartment.

Director Robert Egizio
John Barrymore Robin Bloodworth
Deidre McDavey Kathryn David
Andrew Rally Dan Ford
Felecia Dantine Gina Rickicki
Lillian Troy Holly Stevenson
Gary Peter Lefkowitz Jonathan David Williams
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by playgoer
Monday, February 1, 2016
Paul Rudnick’s "I Hate Hamlet" populates the cast with a bunch of over-the-top characters. Under the expert direction of Roberts Egizio, Stage Door Players’ production gives free reign to the actors to make these characters come to chuckle-inducing life. It all revolves around TV star Andrew Rally (a personable Dan Ford), who is taking a chance on playing Hamlet in Central Park. Kathryn David plays his semi-talented actress girlfriend Deidre, with the emphasis on "semi" when she displays her character’s acting skills and the emphasis on "talented" otherwise. Gina Rickicki plays a psychic real estate agent with New York zeal, getting laughs out of her line readings of some of the most innocuous lines. Holly Stevenson plays Andrew’s aged German agent, interacting with the larger-than-life ghost of John Barrymore (Robin Bloodworth) with an almost girlish flirtatiousness. And Jonathan David Williams plays a movie/TV producer/director/writer as if hopped up on a near-fatal dose of testosterone and energy drinks.

The action (including some very effective stage combat (choreographed by Matthew and Brianna Bass) takes place on Chuck Welcome’s set, all wood paneling, stained glass windows, and elegant touches, including red velvet curtains and a period-appropriate light switch and intercom. More color is added by Jim Alford’s costumes, which add to the characters’ idiosyncrasies in delightful ways. J.D. Williams’ lighting and George Deavours’ wigs (particularly those for Ms. David) add to the visual appeal of the production, and Rial Ellsworth’s sound design appropriately evokes previous ages when memory takes to the forefront. The only design element I didn’t care for was the furniture, with characterless furnishings in the first act and stagey pieces in the second act, with a cobbled-together sofa skirt being particularly unappealing.

The comedy of "I Hate Hamlet" comes through loud and clear in the production. Blocking keeps the action moving, and Mr. Egizio’s familiarity with the corner-stage configuration of the theatre keeps sightlines mostly unimpeded for all audience members. The only aspect I found slightly off-putting in the production was the choice to give lead character Andrew a New Yawk accent. The TV character he played for years doesn’t seem to have been of the Seinfeld stamp, so I would have expected a more generic American accent from him, even though one line does mention his coming "back" to New York. It adds a slightly off note to a production where the acting is otherwise pitch-perfect. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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