fringe: half hour hamlet

adelaide fringe: half hour hamlet
This is our second time seeing Patrick Hercamp perform his half hour version of Shakespeare's Hamlet.

For the purposes of the show Hercamp is not the titular Dane but rather Shakespeare, translating the play into the modern language of the day (our day, not Shakespeare's). The role of Hamlet gets filled in by an audience member (which in this particular show turned out to be me, thanks for that Patrick), and Hercamp then directs much of the explaination/play directly to them (or, for the purposes of this review, "me"). Fortunately this entails sitting in the audience and holding Yorrick (the skull) and not being on stage.

Like last time there are also soundbites for the audience to recite... when anybody dies, when poison is mentioned, when everybody is blissfully happy (remembering of course that this is Hamlet, so that one doesn't come up a lot) and when "your grandfather kisses your sister" (or "ewwwwwww"). A little like last time, the first two of these are basically a noise and a word together, which get progressively more difficult for the audience to manage to remember for some reason as time goes on.

Having the whole half hour essentially directed right at me was something of a unique experience. I love Hercamp's energy at the best of times, and being right in the focus of it was amazing and more than a little dazzling.

The show itself feels somewhat tighter than last year, I'm guessing mostly because he's had a year to really relax into the performance, as well as refine it and lose anything that didn't work in favour of things that did. As I said before Hercamp's energy and performance is really what makes this an amazing show to watch. To keep the level of performance at around 11 for the whole half hour show really shows how skilled he is as a performer and an improviser (whether it was when a random somebody banged on the fence of the beer garden or when I said "whoopsy" about the death of Polonius, Hercamp just picks it up and runs with it).

I do find myself wondering if this is something that could work with other Shakespeare plays or if there's something particular about Hamlet that makes this work as incredibly well as it does.

In any event, it's a show I highly recommend you go and see, whether you're familiar with Hamlet or not.

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