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I Hate Hamlet
a Comedy
by Paul Rudnick

COMPANY : The Magari Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Red Clay Theatre
ID# 4978

SHOWING : October 17, 2016 - November 10, 2016



Set in John Barrymore’s old apartment in New York City - at the time, the author’s real-life home - the play follows successful television actor Andrew Rally as he struggles with taking on the dream role of Hamlet, dealing with a girlfriend who is keeping a firm grip on her chastity, and playing host to the ghost of John Barrymore, who, clothed as Hamlet, has come back to earth for the sole purpose of convincing Rally to play the part. But when a Hollywood friend shows up offering Andrew a new role in a television pilot, with a potentially large salary and fame, Andrew is forced to choose between Shakespeare, whom his girlfriend loves, or television, where he is loved by millions.

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No Pace
by playgoer
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
The Magari Theatre Company’s inaugural production is "I Hate Hamlet," concurrently being performed by The Gypsy Theatre Company in Buford and performed within the past couple of years by Stage Door Players in Dunwoody and Lionheart Theatre in Norcross. The Magari Theatre Company production suffers in comparison.

Amanda Jewell is credited both with the direction and the design of the show. The design is uninspiring, if workable. Plain walls with an obscured fireplace are most of what is seen in the first act, with openings stage right and stage left (up a three-step stair). It’s hardly the impressive and dated residence people aah and ooh about. It looks much better in the second act, when set dressing adds class and style. A few effective lighting effects are used, but in general the light is a bit uneven, with shadows predominating at the edges of the stage. Sound is fine, although the opening of the show could use some underscoring. The costume plot is ambitious and largely successful, but doesn’t really show evidence of a consistent design sensibility.

The actors all seem talented. Halley Tiefert has good New York energy as realtor/psychic Felicia Dantine, and Jeremy Crawford brings an equal amount of L.A. showbiz energy to the stage. Erin Gathercoal does a nice job as Lillian Troy, despite a bad wig and being too young for the role. Tamika Shannon makes for a delightfully enthusiastic Deirdre McDavey, although her soft voice could use more power behind it. The lead actors, Keary McCutchen (John Barrymore) and Austin Chunn (Andrew Rally), show real acting chops, particularly in moments when they advance to the lip of the stage to deliver monologues, their faces clearly visible in the bright light.

But a production requiring close-ups isn’t well-suited to the stage. And this production is also harmed by its lackadaisical pace. Cue pick-ups are slow, and there doesn’t seem to be much shape in the flow of the show. Mr. McCutchen projects low energy, and there are only a couple of moments when the action really sparks, as during Liam McDermott’s fine fight choreography. Blocking too frequently places people directly downstage of others on the chaise at center stage or entering from stage right.

This production is frustrating. Good talent has been placed onstage, but Ms. Jewell’s direction doesn’t take full advantage of it. Vocal projection isn’t consistent, saved only by the fine acoustics of the auditorium. The show has an under-rehearsed feel to it, without the fluidity of speech and cue pick-up that a spot-on show would exhibit. There’s promise in this initial production of the Magari Theatre Company, but it’s mostly promise unfulfilled. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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