From the opening moments of Post5 Theatre's abridged Hamlet, it's evident this isn't the version you saw in high school. King Claudius and Queen Gertrude resemble the picture-perfect parents from a '50s sitcom, servants snap photos with smartphones, the guards carry guns, and Ty Boice as Hamlet swaggers into the room wearing sunglasses and a fancy suit, every bit as bitter and melancholy as you expect him to be—until he isn't.
With consistently swift line delivery, Boiceâs Danish prince drips with sarcasm one second and flightiness the next, making Shakespeareâs tragedy come alive with unexpected comedy. From the exasperated âughâ right before a sword fight to the singsong âgoodnight, motherâ as he drags a dead body out of the room, Boice brings a compelling duality to his character: His madness is razor-sharp, but also frightening in its unpredictability. Aided by an intimate set and a cast that plays up the humorânotably Jessica Tidd, who near matches Boiceâs charisma as Opheliaâthe production, under Paul Angelo's direction, slowly regains its gravity as the tragedy unfolds. Yet itâs a heft lightened by laughter from a Hamlet whoâs both fun and scary to watch. But mostly fun.
GO: Hamlet is at Milepost 5, 850 NE 81st Ave., 729-3223. 7:30 pm Thursdays-Sundays through May 4. $15; Thursdays âpay what you will.â Tickets here.