Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Port Tobacco Players I Hate Hamlet

By • Jan 12th, 2007 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of the Port Tobacco Players’ production of I Hate Hamlet. [MP3 6:21 1.8MB]

Laura: We saw a dress rehearsal of Port Tobacco Players‘ production of I Hate Hamlet in La Plata, Maryland.

Mike: I Hate Hamlet is a comedy written by Paul Rudnick. It’s the story of a washed up tv actor named Andrew Rally. His tv show has just been cancelled so he moves back to New York to do of all things, Shakespeare in the Park. He’s got the juicy role of Hamlet and the apartment that the realtor has found was owned by none other than by the legendary John Barrymore. Unfortunately he’s a little scared to do the role of Hamlet since it’s a tough thing. It’s Shakespeare. He doesn’t understand it. Andrew decides he needs some help with the role of Hamlet. So who should help him? None other than the ghost of John Barrymore who’s still living in the apartment.

Laura: The first act I felt like I was in an Abbot and Costello show. Lots of timing tricks and choreography that went on that was really funny. The second act took on a more serious tone and I sort of was thinking of A Chorus Line. With these actors that really wanted to make it, but they were scared. I thought it was a good show. I enjoyed watching it very much.

Mike: This was an enjoyable show. If you’re a theater lover you’re going to get a lot of the inside jokes. Some of the discussion that came out during the show were really interesting. They’re common things that most theater people fight. Such as tv versus theater or movies versus theater. Some of the quotes were just wonderful. “You do theater because it’s art.” “It’s not the money. It’s the fame! Which is why I want to do TV.” It was a really good show. It was pretty funny. There were some rough points. It was a rehearsal after all. I think those will get worked out in time for the opening on Friday night.

Laura: The role of John Barrymore, the ghost who lives in the apartment that Andy is living in for the Summer was played by John Kirby. I enjoyed watching him. He was very stately, very melodramatic. He made Hamlet what it was. He was just really funny to watch. I enjoyed him. I laughed a lot.

Mike: The fresh new actor who is going to be doing Hamlet for the first time was Andrew Rally played by Darren Longley. Andrew’s tv series had just been canceled so he didn’t quite know what to do with himself. He ends up in New York. I really liked how he expressed himself through the frustration with having to do Shakespeare. And then having to decide if he should go back or go the easy route and go back and do more tv series for a lot of money for not as much work. The second act he really kind of warmed up to the role. You could feel his fear for going on for the first time as Hamlet. After his performance of Hamlet you could really feel his emotions, which I’m not going to say what type of emotions those were. But you could really feel his emotions for how he did in the part.

Laura: Two other important people in Andrew’s life were Felicia Dantine, Andrew’s real estate agent who found him this apartment was played by Maureen king. I liked her. She was a bit nervous I felt, but in the second act she got over some of her nervousness and I think did a good job. Andrew’s director who flew in all the way from Los Angeles to try to talk him into this new role that’s on TV because he just didn’t get theater was Gary Peter Lefkowitz played by Alexander Dean. He did a good job. He was the villain of the show. He just didn’t understand theater and especially Shakespeare. He just didn’t understand the point. He did good. This was his first role. He, again, was a little bit nervous, but, I think in the second act he did really well.

Mike: The women in Andrew’s life were his girlfriend, Deirdre McDavey, played by Katherine Prout and his agent, Lillian Troy, played by Kim Besler. Deirdre was a 29 year old virgin who kind of kept teasing him a little. That really frustrated Andrew. But he really liked her and loved her, kept asking her to marry him. Later in the show John Barrymore helped him learn how those feelings are part of what makes Hamlet such a great role. Katherine’s prtrayal of Deidre was really quite funny. For example, she wasn’t quite sure what she wanted and she was a little niave. But she kept worshipping people when they would do something that she appreciated. That was an on going gag that was really quite funny.

Andrew’s agent, Lillian Troy had a few scenes that didn’t really add a lot to the show. If anything, there was one point when she had a scene with John Barrymore that was kind of a distraction, although it was kind of touching. As they were talking about Andrew, I kind of felt like they were treating him as their son. They were worrying about his future and it was a neat little touch even though it was a little distracting to see them worrying about him as if they were his parents.

Laura: The set for I Hate Hamlet was really well done. The golds and the reds really contributed to the stateliness of the apartment. I liked the suit of armor, the old looking paintings. Up above was a really beautiful stained glass window that I think helped influence the lighting a lot.

Mike: There was also a really nice sword fight between John Barrymore and Andrew Rally. The sword fight was choreographed by Craig Hower. It was really nicely done. The two swordsmen were fighting each other all around the apartment. They went upstairs and downstairs. They were jumping over the furniture and the different items that were in storage. It was really nicely done. The swords went flying in a couple different points as they were pinned. I really liked how that helped bring Andrew into the role of Hamlet.

Laura: I Hate Hamlet is playing weekends through January 28th at the Port Tobacco Playhouse in La Plata Maryland.

Mike: I encourage you to go see this show, even if you don’t know Hamlet or other Shakespeare. I think you’ll know enough of the references to really enjoy this show. Plus it does stand on it’s own. You don’t need to know Hamlet. You will learn about Hamlet in this show.

Laura: And now, on with the show.

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