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From Fringe 2018
Knavish Hedgehog Productions—PTE – Mainstage
There were things I liked and things that didn’t quite please. I loved the enthusiasm of the large cast; and their obvious delight in performing. I enjoyed that they stayed true to the original work. The Bard said it best and I love my Shakespeare pure. This troupe has been around for awhile and sticks exclusively to Shakespeare; and likes to play with the staging of his works. This show was performed in modern clothing; and that’s where I had a little bone to pick. Some of the costuming was fine but the men’s outfits suffered from horrible tailoring. The four inch, poorly hand-sewn hems on Claudius’s pants made me want to jump in with a needle (hardly fit for a King), his jacket was too short, small and tight, and Guildenstern’s outfit was made for someone five sizes smaller. They adventurously chose to cast a female as Hamlet, but her drab, ill-fitting garb did her no favors. I would have played with the fact she was female and had her in a feminine, flowing gown. Then some outfits were lovely; like Ophelia’s dress and neck wreath when she’s was crazed. The costumes seemed to not come from the same time period; and one character looked positively Amish, including white sports socks with brown dress pants. If I have to watch something for ninety minutes, I want it pleasing to the eye.
The casting seemed off to me. I would have placed some of the stronger performers in the larger roles; though I’m not going to call anyone out by name. The talents of the cast varied wildly, from very accomplished to stiff and barely adequate. Staging was strange, with characters having a dialogue together, standing a stiff, great distance from each other, and a lot of rushing about like a wildebeest migration. But on the whole, it was worthwhile. It was opening night, and hopefully this production will smooth out for some of the weaker actors. With all the one actor shows, it’s nice to see an ensemble cast. If you want to see an authentic performance of Hamlet, take this in.