Review: Temple Theatre’s Hamlet

Keep in mind, this isn’t the review that will appear in Tuesday’s Herald. That was written by Faith Swymer. This review is just from a guy who happens to have his own blog.

picture-1 I’ll start by saying it was great to see a packed house Friday night, considering the Temple’s current financial situation. And a lot had been made of the new media that was to accompany “Hamlet.”

That media is noticeable the moment you walk into the theater as armed guards walk the aisles and on the stage, you see a giant projection screen with televisions, each TV showing what looks to be security footage of the area surrounding Hamlet’s Denmark Camelot.

Hamlet, of course, is one of Shakespeare’s finest. Out of all of them, it contains the most quotable lines — “To be or not to be,” “Get thee to a nunnery,” “Frailty, thy name is woman,” “Murder most foul,” “Brevity is the soul of wit,” and so on, and so on. Yet, since it’s been years since I’ve seen Shakespeare performed live, it took me about 5 to 10 minutes to get used to the Shakespeare tongue. Thankfully, the acting in this performance is superb.

So superb, in fact, it completely overshadows the media. Adam Luckey, who was one of our guests on The Rant this week (click here to hear the show) is absolutely mesmerizing as Hamlet. He obviously knows the part up and down, and his method helps you understand the words, even if you’re a Shakespeare virgin.

Nobody in the production drags it down, but Luckey shines. It’s not overly dramatic, but it’s about as real as you can get spouting Shakespeare. I also enjoyed Tim Brosnan as Polonius (he also appears as the grave digger), and Anne Butler’s Ophelia overcomes a timid beginning to go completely nuts at the end. And I liked it.

As for the media — it was hit or miss. It was a “hit” during the ghost scenes. Hamlet’s conversation with his father’s apparition reminded one of our friends of Darth Vader (I think it was more like the Emporer’s talk in Empire Strikes Back, but that’s just me), and it was spooky … would probably scare little kids, in fact. It also worked with some of the scenes, such as when Polonius is hiding behind a column or curtain, and the drowning scene later on.

It was a “miss” with the marching guns in the woods and the odd ghosts that appear toward the end. You’ll notice it … the guns got a giggle from the audience. I understand it was symbolic, but it was one of the few cases the technical side took away from the rest.

I’ve been to four Temple shows now, and this has to be my favorite (I really enjoyed Ain’t Misbehavin, but this was better). It’s the perfect show to have at a time when the Temple needs butts in the seats.
I recommend it. Just brush up on your Shakespeare before you go.

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