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Review: ‘I Hate Hamlet’ at Fells Point Corner Theatre

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Threading a touch of Shakespeare with campy humor and artful absurdity, Fells Point Corner Theatre (FPCT) introduces its 30th anniversary season with a fun revival of Paul Rudnick’s I Hate Hamlet.

Centered around a young actor’s uncertainty about playing Hamlet in Central Park, I Hate Hamlet, under Mark C. Franceschini’s well-honed direction, introduces a proficient cast of six colorful characters who are each distinctively memorable and entertaining throughout the production.

Gabe Fremuth, Abbie Wright, and Steven Shriner. Photo by Shealyn Jae Photography.

Andrew Rally (Gabe Fremuth) is a television star who reluctantly agrees to play Hamlet, as his latest show, L.A. Medical was just canceled. His frustratingly virginal girlfriend, Deirdre (Abigail Wright) is eagerly enthusiastic about him playing Hamlet, as is his older quirky German agent, Lillian (Kimberley Lynne), and his real estate broker extraordinaire, Felicia (Zarah Rautell), who wants him to keep the apartment (smartly staged by Julie Anderson and deftly designed by Christopher Flint) she found for him that used to be inhabited by the legendary actor, John Barrymore.

However, Rally’s friend and wheeling and dealing writer/producer, Gary (J. Purnell Hargrove), thinks he should jump into another lucrative TV series, dismissing Hamlet as “algebra on stage.”

Gabe Fremuth, Abbie Wright, Kimberley Lynne, and Zarah Rautell. Photo by Shealyn Jae Photography.

Just as Rally is confounded with conflict and disconcerted with self-doubt, he meets the ghost of Barrymore (authoritatively portrayed by Steven Shriner) who inspires and invigorates him. Both Fremuth and Shriner are impressive in their respective roles, particularly when they demonstrate their terrific fencing skills (kudos to Fight Choreographer Tegan Williams, Sound Designer Devyn Deguzman, and Lighting Designer Lana Riggins, who accentuate the effects of each scene).

Amusing, zany and light-hearted, Fells Point Corner Theatre’s production of I Hate Hamlet charmingly caps the end of summer and spiritedly inaugurates the advent of its third decade with an evening of love, laughs, and self-discovery.

Running Time: Approximately two hours, with one 15-minute intermission.

I Hate Hamlet plays through October 1, 2017 at Fells Point Corner Theatre – 251 South Ann Street, in Baltimore, MD. For tickets, purchase them at the door or online.

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