Andrew Rally is a washed-up TV-actor who finds himself cast in the role of Hamlet and visited by the ghost of one of the most prolific Hamlets of all time: John Barrymore, whose job is to help get him ready. Only problem? Andrew doesn’t really want to play Hamlet and Barrymore can’t leave until he does.
Not enough to convince you? Watch our preview of I Hate Hamlet featuring interviews with the director and cast members as well as a short scene from the play.
For you lovers of the written word, here’s the script of the review in print form:
Andrew Rally is a washed-up TV-actor who finds himself cast in the role of Hamlet for the Shakespeare in the Park troupe in New York City and visited by the ghost of one of the most prolific Hamlets of all time: John Barrymore, whose job is to help get him ready. Only problem? Andrew doesn’t really want to play Hamlet and Barrymore can’t leave until he does.
Paul Rudnick’s I Hate Hamlet is in part, an homage to the bard’s character Hamlet, who when you get down to brass tacks is just kind of a spoiled brat with a temper. Being set in the 80s, the play is also part period piece and it explores the ever growing gap between “art” and “entertainment”. By art, I of course mean art, like at the theatre, where entertainment is dropping down in front of a TV.
The play is witty in its exploration of the contrasting forms of art — but when the play really gets started is with the entrance of the character, John Barrymore, played by John Eric Ladd. Ladd’s entrance –suitably grand and dramatic– sets the tone for his character in the rest of the play –suitably grand and dramatic– and comes up after a long scene of necessary set up with other characters who felt almost over excitable and in a rush to get to that point.
Now I don’t want you to think that I’m being harsh on the actors because Michael McSheffrey, Cathy Nobleman, Julie Horner, Ann Scholberg, and Josh Sparks were all good. They were. But it’s like eating ice cream. Vanilla is good… but once you add something like butterscotch or fudge it becomes great. The play was good… but once you added Ladd it became… GREAT!
His bravado and over-the-top-yet-believable Shakespearean acting is everything that I Hate Hamlet needs to be a success. Plus, he’s a natural when you put a sword in his hand and let’s be honest, the man looks good in tights. On his performance alone I urge you to see this play that runs through December 17, 2011 @ The Ottawa Little Theatre
Photo for this article taken for Production Ottawa by Allan Mackey.
Video production courtesy of Valley Wind Productions, produced by Allan Mackey.