BWW Review: I HATE HAMLET at Dundalk Community Theatre Delights Shakespeare Lovers and Haters
Imagine you've been cast as every actor's dream role - Hamlet in Shakespeare in the Park. Then imagine as you're deciding whether or not to take the role, the ghost of the best Hamlet of all time - John Barrymore - starts haunting you. That's the premise of Dundalk Community Theatre's delightful production of I HATE HAMLET. For lovers of Shakespeare, you can't go wrong with seeing this play. Contrary to its title, the show is basically a love letter to the Bard.
Not only are Shakespeare's works name checked, but also some great Shakespearean actors as well. I took a particular thrill in David Tennant being mentioned, as I would argue he was even better than Barrymore, but that's beside the point.
Anyway, Andrew - the actor set to take on this fabulous role - is not such a fan of Hamlet, as you could probably tell from the title. He's understandably intimidated by taking on such an impressive role, which is when Barrymore comes to save the day or ruin it, depending on who you ask. Charlie Lidard, the actor playing AnDrew Carried the entire show beautifully. He was perfectly snarky when presented with the ghost of a dead man wearing tights and drinking scotch. He and Thomas Hessenauer (Barrymore) played so well off of each other, I almost wanted to cast them in a buddy comedy together. Hessenauer was particularly funny and heartfelt. His Barrymore was a rabblerousing, skirt chaser who was choosing to make the best of his time back on earth - by annoying Andrew and his girlfriend, naturally.
Throughout Andrew's decision-making, there are a few side stories happening with Andrew's friend and the broker that sold him the haunted apartment which fit the tone of the play quite well. However, a few remarks regarding Barrymore and Andrew's young girlfriend, didn't really sit well with me. That plot line, which wasn't mentioned much but was enough to seem a bit creepy, could have been left out. Aside from that particular point, the rest of play was smart and quick and perfectly snarky.
As I said, lovers of Shakespeare would get particular joy from the inside references to the Bard's work but you definitely don't need to be a Shakespearean scholar to enjoy it. The show had just enough great talent, sarcasm and fun ghostly gags to entertain just about anyone.