Thursday, January 25, 2018

Hamlet Theatre Review

Photo of Michael Urie as Hamlet in Hamlet by Scott Suchman

Break His Heart

This isn't your parent's Hamlet (Mel Gibson, Kenneth Branagh) nor it is a reincarnation of Sir Laurence Olivier's 1948 Oscar winner. Director Michael Kahn has decided to go in a totally different direction, and the results are magical. No easy task, considering this might be William Shakespeare's most interesting character (and perhaps play.) Credit Kahn, and Ugly Betty star Michael Urie for a refreshingly brazen and comedic take on everyone's favorite Danish prince. Unlike his predecessors, Urie's Hamlet doesn't have time to brood or reflect. He's too busy plotting revenge, and dominating the stage in the process. His performance is so delicious (and playful) we might have to start giving out stage awards this year.

202 Words or Less

There's modern twists aplenty, including selfies and text messages, against John Coyne's sleek yet stark set; but this play begins and ends with Urie's second one-man show in recent memory (remember 2014's Buyer & Cellar?) Clean shaven and barefoot, Urie commands your attention with a confidence that doesn't appear to require lunacy to fuel it. Fear not, he becomes appropriately unhinged during the action-packed final hour; but by then, he already has us. Denmark may be a prison, but odds are, you may never want to leave.


Hamlet runs three hours with a 15-minute intermission, now through March 4th at Sidney Harman Hall (610 F Street, NW.) Tickets cost $44-$125, and are available for purchase online or by calling (202) 547-1122.