"It's Shakespeare. It's like algebra on stage," as quoted by the character of John Barrymore in Omaha Community Playhouse's latest production, I Love Hamlet.
Real estate broker, Deirdre McDavey, knows that she has the perfect New York apartment for the Hollywood actor whose show was just cancelled. The apartment was once the residence of John Barrymore. What actor wouldn't be thrilled to live in the actual space inhabited by the legendary man. Added to that, his actor has agreed to play the lead in "Hamlet" for the upcoming Shakespeare in the Park. However, Andrew is not certain that he is capable of portraying this character, knows that he really does not want to play this part, and is definitely not thrilled with this apartment.
Being that Andrew is a television actor. He really does not have the training and experience to understand and play and Hamlet. Even when his girlfriend, agent, promoter, and even the ghost of John Barrymore encourage him, he really doesn't believe he can be successful in this role and still just doesn't want it.
As Andrew Rally, Ben Beck is perfect as the television/commercial actor who doesn't view himself as a talented individual. He has thoroughly enjoyed his five years as the lead on L.A. Medical, the long running successful television show which has now been cancelled.
His girlfriend, Felicia Dantine is portrayed by Julie Fitzgerald Ryan. She is delightful as the 29-year-old-virgin with her firm belief that she will have absolutely no sexual relationship until she is married.
In the role of John Barrymore, the ghost, is Kevin Barratt. He wonderfully captures the dignity of the legendary actor while still being realistic character that is known as an alcoholic, seducer and experienced Shakespearean actor whose reputation as Hamlet is considered one of the best of all time. He successfully became the larger than life Barrymore while still being obviously flawed.
Kim Jubenville is in the role of Lillian Troy. She is Rally's agent who unquestionably wants him in this role. However years ago she had a fling with Barrymore in that actual apartment.
As the real estate broker/psychic Deirdre McDavey, Kim Jubenville possesses the New York accent. With her high-heeled, short-skirted, flashy clothes she is delightful as the flirtatious real estate broker.
Rounding out the cast is Dave Wingert as Gary Peter Lefkowitz who has the Hollywood connections for Rally's future and fortune. He truly became the sleazy promoter looking for the best moment to optimize every opportunity.
This adult play is a fast-paced, delightfully humorous journey accompanying a present day television heartthrob who needs to find a new acting gig. Being thrust into the world of John Barrymore is more than a little unsettling for Andrew. The apartment is styled from the first half of the twentieth-century and definitely not one that a television star would value. Added to that, Andrew learns from the actual ghost of Barrymore who must stay within the walls of the apartment as he both educates and entertains Andrew along with the audience and most of the cast.
The sets, costumes, hair, props, lighting, sound, and direction are perfect. Obviously this behind-the-scenes support crew is outstanding with this well-organized and well-managed production with the actual scene for the entire play being only the living room of the apartment.
Additionally, the two lead male roles needed to interact while fencing. This was effective and masterfully done with no obvious injuries.
The play consists of two acts of about an hour separated by an intermission.
I Hate Hamlet continues at the Omaha Community Playhouse located at 6915 Cass Street in Omaha through May 10th, 2015. Shows are Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Ticket prices are $ 36 for adults and $ 22 for students with special group prices available and can be purchased of the Omaha Community Playhouse Box Office by calling (402) 553-0800 or online at www.OmahaPlayhouse.org or www.TicketOmaha.com.
I Love Hamlet is a delightfully humorous show for those who enjoy Shakespeare, those who feel a little intimidated with Shakespeare, those who would like to better understand Shakespeare and for any adult that enjoys a light-hearted humorous show.