BWW REVIEW: The Listies' Comic Take On Shakespeare THE TRAGEDY OF HAMLET: PRINCE OF SKIDMARK, A BADAPTATION OF THE BARD Returns For The School Holidays
Sunday 8 July 2018, 2:30pm, Everest Theatre Seymour Centre
The Listies' brand of brilliant comedy for kids and their respective adults returns to delight audiences with THE TRAGEDY OF HAMLET: PRINCE OF SKIDMARK, A BADAPTATION OF THE BARD. Reprising the Sydney Theatre Company production which premiered in 2016, the mad cap intelligent stylings give youngsters a taste of Shakespeare whilst keeping audiences of all ages engaged and amused.
The Listies Matthew (Matt) Kelly and Richard (Rich) Higgins have collaborated with Declan Green to co-create an inventive one hour condensation of Shakespeare's longest play. Kelly and Higgins are joined by Courtney Stewart on stage whilst Green directs the work. The premise of the piece is that Kelly and Higgins are ushers in a theatre where the audience is waiting to see Hamlet but an unfortunate bout of food poisoning has affected the actors and the show is supposed to be cancelled, at least according to stage manager Courtney Stewart. Determined not to disappoint the gathered audience, Rich hatches a plan to give them their money's worth, drawing on his own love of the story to take on the role of Hamlet whilst Kelly takes on the remaining characters until Stewart agrees to help them, taking on the role of Ophelia.
Designer Renee Mulder ensures the work has a simple feel with a relatively basic painted 'castle' backdrop on the smaller stage that confines the work rather than utilising the broader Everest Theatre stage. The costuming is stereotypical costume stock items with a range of improvised characterisations including an amusing fitted sheet ghost. The props are found are items and two dollar shop type gags adding to the humour of the piece. Verity Hampson's lighting allows focus to be shifted from the stage to segments when the audience is asked to participate, or performers join the audience.
Presented with a respect for children's intelligence and being mindful of the adults that invariably have to attend to escort the youngsters, this work is engaging on a variety of levels. There is the seemingly mandatory toilet humour to satisfy the smaller audience (it's a given based on the title of the show), plenty of pop culture references thrown in for the older children and a number of political gags for the adults. They have also acknowledged that the work is being presented in conjunction with Sydney Theatre Company and that there are a number of the audience that fit in the older subscriber demographic rather than the Listies normal 'kidult' audience adding to the feeling of inclusion. There is a high degree of improvisation in the work and the references to surprise that gags have worked better than other showings helps remind the audience that this is live theatre and each show is different, affected by the audience reaction and participation.
Incredibly well presented and engaging for all ages whilst being a wonderful way to introduce Shakespeare and live theatre to younger audiences. If you are looking for intelligent school holiday entertainment that also has the adults amused and involved, secure a ticket to THE TRAGEDY OF HAMLET: PRINCE OF SKIDMARK, A BADAPTATION OF THE BARD as it tours NSW.
Sydney Seymour Centre JUL 7-22 TIX
Parramatta Riverside Theatre JUL 25-27 TIX
Canberra Theatre Centre AUG 3-4 TIX
Wagga Wagga Civic Theatre AUG 7 TIX
Wollongong Merrigong Theatre AUG 10-11 TIX
Sydney Northern Beaches Glen St Theatre AUG 15 -18 TIX