Hamlet--A Send Up

Hamlet — A Stand-up Comedy is, as its name suggests, irreverent and silly. Performed by just one actor for the entire one hour and 40 minute performance, Hamlet — A Stand-up Comedy is quite a send up of the most famous play ever written. Hamlet's father, for instance, becomes a fly while relating to his son the horrors of his death. The opening scene involves a midget wearing a jester's cap. And the play is laced with jokes about the performance itself and figures like Bill Clinton. The play has real potential to be a very funny performance. Unfortunately, Hamlet — A Stand-up Comedy doesn't quite live up to its potential. Although the actor, Roger Westberg, who plays not just Hamlet, but every single role in the play, is strong enough to pull off all of the parts, the fact that he is trying to play so many characters becomes, at times, confusing. The fact that he also mimes the entire play is equally troublesome, all the more so since the Ghost is not normally performed as a fly, and a midget (or an actor playing as a midget) does not normally begin Shakespeare's greatest tragedy. Despite these problems, Hamlet — A Stand-up Comedy, has moments of fun and humor and originality, and watching Westberg perform without relief for such a long time is, in and of itself, a fete to watch. This production is very much in the spirit of the Fringe Festival, and it was exciting to see a play, performed at a late hour on a Tuesday night by a single actor from Sweden, so well-attended. Watching Hamlet — A Stand-up Comedy gives hope that theatre and experimentation in the theatre are still alive and well.

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