Hamlet | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Director Ronan Marra finds honest humor in many of Shakespeare's darkest, most disturbing corners, including Hamlet's visit to the boudoir of his incestuous, bloodthirsty mother to work out his singular Oedipus complex. And Signal Ensemble Theatre's self-described straightforward production is blessedly free of conceptual clutter. But it doesn't have a clear point of view. Like the generic velvet capes, tin crowns, and black tights here, little in the staging is detailed enough to leaving a lasting impression. Marra tries to keep things at a rolling boil all night, creating three and a half hours of unvarying, exhausting energy. And too often the performers allow indiscriminate outrage to render their dialogue unintelligible--even the usually meticulous Christopher Prentice as Hamlet. --Justin Hayford a Through 5/26: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM, Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division, 773-347-1350, $15-$20.

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