I Hate Hamlet
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by Kim Taylor

If you hate Hamlet better keep it to yourself or Shakespearian actor John Barrymore might haunt you. Well, at least that’s what happens in Ross Valley Players’ production of Paul Rudnick’s play I Hate Hamlet.

In this comic tale, Andrew Rally (David Shirk), a former daytime TV soap opera star, rents the former apartment of John Barrymore in New York City after accepting the role of Hamlet in a Shakespeare in the Park production. The minute he admits that he “hates Hamlet,” Barrymore begins to haunt him in typical Barrymore fashion: “Am I dead or just incredibly drunk?” he says when they first meet. That’s right Barrymore, played by Norman A. Hall, was well known for his Freudian interpretation of Hamlet, but he was also well known as a lush and a lady’s man. At the age of 14 he had sex with his stepmother: “I was a Freudian bonus coupon,” he tells Andrew.

Rudnick has created some really funny characters and has imbued them with many witty lines that make fun of everything from modern morals to art: “You don’t do art; you buy it,” says Andrew’s agent (Matthew Boucher). Add to this a very energetic cast and you have one fun night of comedy.

For tickets or more information about this production directed by Bruce Vieira, call (415) 456-9555 or visit www.rossvalleyplayers.com.

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