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HAMLET Compass Performing Arts Center/Brazen-Faced Varlets
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Mar 12, 2024, 20:27
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Through March 23
HAMLET Compass Performing Arts Center/Brazen-Faced Varlets

By Augustine Warner

It’s no secret how “Hamlet” winds up, only how many bodies will be on stage when the curtain drops.
I’ve seen any number of bodies in more productions than I can count.
There was a really bad production up at Artpark long ago, featuring Sam Waterston as the prince, yes, Jack McCoy, until recently of “Law & Order.”
It’s a tough play, with need for a lot of strong actors for many roles.
For Brazen-Faced Varlets, that’s 16 people on stage in the Compass Performing Arts Center, for the Dane and the other characters hanging around Elsinore, an all-female cast.
Many families have issues, some serious.
Here, it’s lethal and there is a ghost.
This is all a pretty good production, with some unevenness in the cast.
That’s helped by strong work from Stefanie Warnick as the prince and Lanie Shannon as Claudius, now the king and married to the queen and murderer of former King Hamlet, husband of queen Gertrude (Alyssa Walsh).
Shakespeare peopled the cast with many characters, from the obsequious aide Polonius (Jennifer Fitzery) to disturbed love interest Ophelia (Maryna Sophia) to the venal Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (Kennedy Lee and Sarah Emmerling).
Tom Stoppard gave them what they deserved in “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.”
There are two key problems in this production.
One problem BFV probably can’t control, the loud motor blurring the actor lines, perhaps something to do with the heating system.
The other problem is weak diction from several characters, made worse by the poor acoustics in the Compass, exacerbated by that motor.
If you have seen “Hamlet,” you know the story and the motor and that diction won’t interfere with enjoying this tale of adultery, love and murder.
On balance, it’s worth seeing, with the underlying story and some strong performances.

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