Reviewed by Neal Weaver
Through June 24
Despite initial claims that this production is set in post-apocalyptic Denmark, director-adapter Jacob Sidney has given us a brisk, fast-moving and ultimately conventional production. The projected comic-book-style settings by Hillary Bauman and the eccentric costumes by Angi Bell Ursetta are initially startling: Hamlet (director Sidney) has crimson-dyed hair with a white stripe circling his head, a man’s suit-coat with sleeves cut out, and bare feet, with garish red toe-nail polish. But the play’s sweep soon makes us forget the oddities, though Sidney often seems more interested in the exotic externals than in a serious exploration of the text.
Aside from some gender-blind casting, the only stylistic innovation is the handling of the soliloquies, which are delivered as voice-overs, with the texts projected on an upstage screen. This makes for clarity, but puts the focus sharply on the words rather than on actor or interpretation. Sidney’s Hamlet has wit, fencing skills, and a rumbustious style, but the “sweet prince” is not in evidence. Jonathan Goldstein is an impressive Claudius, Kellie Mattson is an athletic Laertes, and Coryn Cummins is a sweetly naïve Ophelia, blighted by the traumatic events that overtake her, while Matt Henerson gives a contemporary feeling to Polonius and a bare-chested Grave-digger. –Neal Weaver
Central City Productions at Schkapf, 6567-6585 Santa Monica Blvd., www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/1658
This review is offered via a partnership between L.A. Weekly and Stage Raw. To maximize coverage of the Hollywood Fringe Festival, the two publications are sharing reviews and funding responsibilities. Stage Raw is an Emerge Project of the Pasadena Arts Council, with other funding coming from a combination of advertising and individual donors. For the L.A. Weekly, please visit www.laweekly.com