Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

THEATER BEAT

L.A. Rep Underlines Clarity of 'Hamlet'

October 14, 1994|PHILIP BRANDES

Shakespeare's observation that "one man in his time plays many parts" is taken very much to heart in the Los Angeles Repertory Company's six-actor "Hamlet" at the L.A. Theatre Center.

Artistic Director Robert Ellenstein's staging (now in its second revival) confidently steers us through the anguished Prince of Denmark's vengeful plotting without the accustomed continuity of a full cast or the usual landmarks of period scenery and costumes--David Ellenstein's black-clad Hamlet being one of the few nods to traditional representation.

The energetic and sharp-edged Ellenstein the Younger and Susan Angelo (a sensitive Ophelia and stalwart Horatio) are the only carry-overs from the company's original 1987 production, but the conceptual integrity holds as the new cast members prove adept at their chameleon metamorphoses.

Bob Larkin's pompous Polonius is the high point of his seven roles, while among their various characters Brendan Ford supplies well-timed comic relief as the obsequious Rosencrantz (with imaginary Guildenstern in tow like the Shakespearean equivalent of the invisible 6-foot rabbit in "Harvey"), and Janet MacLachlan plumbs the depths of sorrow as the Queen tormented by her son's apparent madness. Especially praiseworthy is William H. Bassett's Claudius, with his melodious voice and wonderful control of the scansion.

By design an abstract proposition, this "Hamlet" lacks some of the visceral impact and emotional range of a full staging, but the absence of clutter helps illuminate the text with remarkable clarity--worthwhile viewing for anyone familiar with the play's terrain.

* "Hamlet," Los Angeles Theatre Center Theatre 4, 514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. (7 p.m. on Oct. 23 and Nov. 13). Ends Nov. 13. $18-$25. (213) 485-1681. Running time: 3 hours, 20 minutes.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|