Review: Hamlet (Writers’ Theatre)

| September 21, 2012 | 1 Comment

Scott Parkinson (Hamlet), Shannon Cochran (Gertrude) and Michael Canavan (Claudius) in Writers' Theatre's "Hamlet", directed by Michael Halberstam. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)        
       
Hamlet 

Written by William Shakespeare 
Directed by Michael Halberstam 
at Writers’ Theatre, Glencoe (map)
thru Nov 11  |  tickets: $   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     



     
       

Writers’ Hamlet is crazy great

     

Scott Parkinson (Hamlet) and Shannon Cochran (Gertrude) in Writers' Theatre's "Hamlet", directed by Michael Halberstam. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)

    
Writers’ Theatre presents
    
Hamlet

Review by Katy Walsh 

Family drama is always unpleasant!  But I try to keep it in perspective.   Was anyone stabbed, poisoned, or drowned at the family gathering?  Okay then, it wasn’t truly family drama.

Kareem Bandealy (Horatio) and Scott Parkinson (Hamlet) in Writers' Theatre's "Hamlet", directed by Michael Halberstam. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)Writers’ Theatre presents Hamlet.  The king is dead.  The queen is remarried.  The prince is mad.  The king’s ghost tells Hamlet that he was murdered. His own brother     Claudius killed him to take the crown and the queen. The news sends Hamlet into a wacko rampage.  He wants a confession and revenge.  His mother is concerned.  His girlfriend is bewildered.  His uncle is unfazed.  The combination response makes him lose it even more.  Writers’ Hamlet is a unique and unforgettable tale of a classic.    

Director Michael Halberstam made a deliberate choice to do it different.  Halberstam cast Scott Parkinson (Hamlet) in a leading role that has been traditionally bestowed on actors like Timothy Edward Kane (Laertes).  Physically, Parkinson is diminutive, and this contrasts brilliantly with the majestic statuesque Shannon Cochran (Gertrude) and Michael Canavan (Claudius).  Mentally, Parkinson is bat-shit crazy and this really sets him apart from the regal Cochran and Canavan.  Under Halberstam’s direction, an animated Parkinson goes beyond the customary subtle Hamlet brooding.  Parkinson rants with a one-flew-over-the-cuckoo’s nest absurdity.  He spellbinds with an exhausting and raw delivery.  

With Parkinson’s fervor defining the show’s tone, the rest of the talented ensemble pop in moments of quiet distinction.  A poignant Kane reacts to his sister’s death.  A calculating Canavan plots the deadly duel.  A stunning Cochran tries to deflect her son’s madness.  Playing multiple roles, Larry Yando (gravedigger, ghost) interjects delightful humor and commanding edicts.   And especially because Parkinson is so off-the-rails, Kareem Bandealy (Horatio) endears in loving loyalty to Hamlet. 

I’ve seen three movie versions of Hamlet, including the magnificent Laurence Olivier version.  I’ve seen at least seven stages versions of Hamlet, including two last year.  I’ve never seen anything like *this* Hamlet. Writers’ Hamlet is crazy-great!

  
Rating: ★★★★
  
   

Hamlet continues through November 11th at Writers’ Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe (map), with performances Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7:30pm, Thursdays-Fridays 8pm, Saturdays 4pm and 8pm, Sundays 2pm and 6pm.  Tickets are $65-$70, and are available by phone (847-242-6000) or online through PrintTixUSA.com (check for half-price tickets at Goldstar.com). More information at WritersTheatre.org(Running time: 3 hours, includes two intermissions)

Larry Yando (Gravedigger) and Scott Parkinson (Hamlet) in Writers' Theatre's "Hamlet", directed by Michael Halberstam. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)

Photos by Michael Brosilow 


     

artists

cast

Scott Parkinson (Hamlet), Shannon Cochran (Gertrude), Michael Canavan (Claudius), Timothy Edward Kane (Laertes), Larry Yando (Ghost, Gravedigger), Ross Lehman (Polonius), Kareem Bandealy (Horatio), Liesel Matthews (Ophelia), Julian Parker (Rosencrantz), Witold Huzior (Fortinbras), Billy Fenderson (Guildenstern)

behind the scene

Michael Halberstam (director); Collette Pollard (scenic); David Hyman (costumes); Sarah Hughey (lighting); Mikhail Fiksel (sound); Nick Heggestad (props); David Woolley (fight choreography); David Castellanos (stage manager); Michael Brosilow (photos)

Liesel Matthews (Ophelia) and Scott Parkinson (Hamlet) in Writers' Theatre's "Hamlet", directed by Michael Halberstam. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)

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Category: 2012 Reviews, Katy Walsh, William Shakespeare, Writers' Theatre

Comments (1)

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  1. paul helman says:

    The performance was tone deaf and callow. I disagree with your review on almost all points. This was not Gielgood, which I can accept, but it wasn’t even Joseph Tura. He was that great great Polish actor. You have heard of him of course?

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