Walpole Footlighters second show of their 88th season is Paul Rudnick's comedy, "I Hate Hamlet". Andrew Rally is a young and successful television actor relocates to New York, where he rents a marvelous, gothic apartment. With his television career in limbo, the actor is offered the opportunity to play Hamlet onstage, but there's one problem: He hates "Hamlet". His dilemma deepens with the entrance of John Barrymore's ghost, who arrives intoxicated and in full costume to the apartment that once was his. The contrast between the two actors, the towering, dissipated Barrymore whose Hamlet was the greatest of his time, and Andrew Rally, hot young television star, leads to a wildly funny duel over women, art, success, duty, television and yes, the apartment. Peter Bradley directs this show, keeping the action flowing with these crazy characters and their antics. He makes the audience anxious to find out whether Andrew succeeds in his quest to become a stage actor or whether he sells out to Hollywood.
Peter blocks the show beautifully, having the cast use the whole playing area of the gorgeous two story set designed by Dan Sheehan. The apartment is lush looking and the marvelous costumes are by kate Smith. David Wood is topnotch as Andrew Rally, winning the hearts of the audience with this appealing character. His verbal sparring with the others about taking on the role of Hamlet is very funny and the sword play between Andrew and the John Barrymore character is terrific, too. His description of the commercial for Trail Burst with a crying chipmunk is very funny. Roger Alix-Gaudreau is marvelous as John Barrymore. He appears dressed as Hamlet in black tights and tunic. Roger has many one liners that are hilarious as he struts across the stage as this larger than life character. One of the funniest lines concerns what the actors who play Hamlet stuff in the their tights including socks and anything they can find around. He also gets the point across to Andrew that it is more important to be a good actor than a rich actor doing trash on TV. Christopher Cardoni who I saw play Barrymore back in 2004 choreographed the terrific sword fighting scene.
The other funny characters include Jessica Corey as Deirdre, the virginal girlfriend who thinks playing Hamlet makes Andrew very sexy and appealing while Evie Rayburg plays Lillian, the German agent who has one last dance with Barrymore on opening night,Gina Donaher is Felicia, the psychic real estate agent who calls Barrymore back to life while Steve Small is Gary, the smarmy producer who oozes Hollywood platitudes to try to persuade Andrew to do another series for $3 million. One of his funniest lines is "Hamlet is like Algebra for the stage." Steve steals many a scene with his comic line delivery while Jessica is bubbly and high energy as Deirdre. Evie is a hoot as the constantly smoking agent.So for a fun take on an old Shakespearean tale, be sure to catch "I Hate Hamlet" at Walpole Footlighters.