Hamlet: Prince of Denmark | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Hamlet: Prince of Denmark

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Director Frank Merle's adaptation of Shakespeare's greatest tragedy for the Keyhole Theatre Company is shorter but strangely labored. Unthinkably, he omits the play within the play--a pivotal scene in which psychosexual tensions and revenge fantasies collide and are transformed into palpable menace. A few judicious cuts elsewhere cure the characters of their nasty habit of overexplaining themselves, but many of the nuances get lost too. If we've learned anything from Law & Order, it's that every crime has a motive, and in the absence of complex characterization here, the second-act violence seems particularly senseless as the body count rises. Period costumes are an odd choice in a staging that's otherwise no-frills, and Merle's performers appear a little lost within the blank walls of the black-box space. Still, their enthusiasm for the material--aided by all the stabbing--is infectious. Through 2/20: Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sun 7 PM. Josephinum, 1501 N. Oakley, 773-805-5055. $15.

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