Saturday, October 24, 2009

Hamlet, City Theatre, October 22 - November 15

Director Jeff Hinkle and the City Theatre cast led by Aaron Black as Hamlet give us a gripping up-tempo version of the famous events in Elsinore. Elapsed playing time from the first challenge on the battlements to Hamlet's dying gasp,
"The rest -- is silence" is just a little more than two and a half hours.

That fits the play well within the max bounds for today's young movie-going public and gives them the bonus of a break in the middle for snacks and bathroom. The nearly full house for opening night offered the encouraging prospect of a well attended four-week run to open City's fourth season.

It's a good ride, with some surprises along the way.

Aaron Black paints a two-speed Hamlet. From the first, alone or speaking to us directly in his monologues, Black establishes the prince's intelligence. His deft timing and effectively calibrated pauses show Hamlet's mind at work and establish a bond with the audience.

In company with any but Horatio or the player king, however, Black speeds up, provokes and antagonizes. His diction is precise but as his lines move toward rant, he seems to be less the master of his own thoughts. They burst forth in hectoring images.

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