Hamlet! | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

Tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight: that's the spirit behind this hilarious reworking of Shakespeare's most famous play. Written in a perky 60s style that recalls Richard and Robert Sherman's Disney film scores, Jeff Richmond and Michael Thomas's musical doesn't coast on kitschy smugness or gross-out grotesqueness like so many spoofs; instead it offers a series of clever, surprising variations on the original story, building to the upbeat ending implied by the title's exclamation point and proving that there is nothing like a Dane. Richmond himself plays the melancholy prince as a kooky cross between Anthony Hopkins and Dudley Moore, a perfect match for Tina Gluschenko's wacked-out, irrepressible Ophelia; Thomas as King Claudius is an overripe comic villain well suited to Alexandra Billings's Queen Gertrude--part Joan Collins, part Carol Burnett--a thoroughly modern mom who spanks her son with a purple boa. It's all grandly silly, but it works because the company, under Richmond's direction, approaches the material without lazy condescension. The witty result should entertain Shakespeare admirers and musical-comedy aficionados as well as the late-night party-show crowd. ImprovOlympic Theater, 1218 W. Belmont, 880-0199. Open run: Saturdays, 11 PM. $9.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Brian Dann.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Give $35/month →  
  Give $10/month →  
  Give  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Albert Williams

Agenda Teaser

Galleries & Museums
FÊTE GALANTE Heaven Gallery
September 18
Performing Arts
Wet Cash Dark Tower Comics
July 28

Popular Stories