Fundamental Theatre Project
Spaces on the Mile
Just when you thought that there was nothing new to be done with Hamlet, New York's Fundamental Theatre Project have come up with a novelty gimmick.
Though the title suggests otherwise, the only part of the evening when the provided glasses are required is during The Mousetrap, which really has been filmed in 3D, albeit a rather low budget variety.
Otherwise, the most notable characteristics of Sam Underwood's production are a selection of big name cast members, some on screen, and a cut-down text that runs at little more than an hour.
This means that roughly three-quarters of Shakespeare's text has been lost, along with many scenes and a good few characters.
What is left is a team of young performers rushing through the play, supplemented by more experienced actors rotating the remaining, older parts. At various times, Fringe stalwarts including Simon Callow and Linda Marlowe will also strut their stuff.
On a tattered screen, Alec Baldwin plays a sci-fi ghost, while other TV stars make cameo appearances.
In a space only around 15 feet by 5 feet, with some spilling over the edges, the performers do their bit, never far from the audience, who really can see the whites of their eyes.
Underwood himself is a compelling Hamlet and gets good support from Jennifer Van Dyck, Jonathan Walker and Nicola Murphy as Gertrude, Claudius and Ophelia respectively, though all three are overshadowed by Spencer Aste as a suitably quirky Polonius.
Shared scripts, passed around throughout, prove to be remarkably attention-seeking and with the cast at the performance under review, were apparently not required.
The overall impression is of a well-performed, breathless adaptation, with rather more cut than is ideal to retain sufficient meaning for those who do not know the play.
Reviewer: Philip Fisher