- Love the reconstructed Globe stage and how they still treat the audience like groundlings (they even keep the lights on!)
- Such a playful production, and it worked. Hamlet can be a real downer (which is fine– it’s clearly in the text), but this was actually a lot of fun.
- The play within a play was indescribably hilarious and masterful.
- Loved the use of sound and music– from the opening and closing songs to the ambient noises punctuating key moments of the play. They used a violin bow on a cymbal!
- Loved the pace (no pun intended). The play was nearly 3 hours but felt like half that.
- All 8 of the actors were fantastic and filled the 20-odd roles extremely well. I particularly enjoyed seeing the same actor play Claudius, Hamlet’s father, and the King in the play within a play.
- The actor playing Hamlet reminded me a little of a young Ralph Fiennes in his cadences and expressions, and that’s never a bad thing.
- I was distracted fairly often by the costume changes and whatnot happening backstage. It wouldn’t have been hard to close off the audience’s views to this and I don’t know why they didn’t.
- By making it a ‘fun’ production, some of the dramatic weight was lost. I’m typically close to tears at the end of Hamlet and didn’t feel it this time.
- Likewise for the speed– the pace kept it entertaining, but there weren’t a whole lot of pregnant pauses to allow for an exploration of the weight of a moment.
Wacky side note: My wife Liz and I had some crazy telepathic synchronicity during this production and afterwards found ourselves with basically the same proposal. Today, audiences are smart and they’re pretty darn familiar with the story of Hamlet. Why not spice it up a bit and remove some of the ‘givens’? What if Claudius didn’t kill Hamlet’s father? What if Hamlet is truly insane and is the only person who sees his father’s ghost? What if Hamlet killed Ophelia? What if when Claudius is praying, he’s praying for Hamlet’s mental health– maybe he truly cares for the boy? What if Hamlet is responsible for his own father’s death? What’s interesting to us is not making any of this overt, but like the ending to such films as Inception and Looper, why not provide enough evidence to allow audience members to make a case either way? Don’t have Claudius confessing to the murder. Don’t have the guards see Hamlet’s father. Allow for the reaction Claudius has to the play within a play to be a debatable one. Maybe add a couple small scenes and remove a few that are too on-the-nose?
We think this would be fun. What say you?