Hamlet. A Version OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Jeremy Daniel
  • NY TIMES

  • Opening Night:
    April 25, 2017
    Closing:
    May 7, 2017

    Theater: Theatre at St. Clement's / 423 West 46th Street, New York, New York, 10036

    Synopsis: 

    This world premiere by the celebrated Georgian-born writer and dissident of Putin's Russia, internationally famous for the cycle of fictional detective novels THE ADVENTURES OF ERAST FANDORIN, re-engineers Shakespeare's classic tragedy in an ingeniously innovative vein.

    Set in a crumbling hierarchical empire, Hamlet. A Version shifts the usual focus from the iconic philosophical title character to the intrigue, opportunism, and political scheming of a burgeoning police state. This starkly realized new world order, insidiously ushered in by murderous and destabilizing tactics, provides a whole new meaning to the phrase "something is rotten in the state of Denmark."

    From a curiously flat-footed Hamlet and a self-aggrandizing Polonius the First, to the questionable death of the old king and a torrid affair between Gertrude and Claudius, Boris Akunin's HAMLET. A VERSION provides a radically prescient perspective on a contemporary political issue: how to eradicate the old to make way for the new. And who gets caught in the crossfire?

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Hamlet. A Version

    To Be or Not to Be? Oh, Who Cares? A Different ‘Hamlet’

    Laura Collins-Hughes

    April 26, 2017: The actors’ transformation happens gradually, in front of us, before the lights go down. As the audience settles in at the Theater at St. Clement’s, the performers pluck items of rich clothing from the bounty laid out onstage — a laced corset here, a gilt-edged ruff there — and piece by piece become inhabitants of Hamlet’s world, not ours. “Hamlet. A Version” is a riff on Shakespeare with no tiresome sentinels on the battlements, spying the ghost of the recently dead king. A politically minded caper by the Russian writer and dissident Boris Akunin, known for his detective novels, it starts with a dissolute Hamlet exercising a little droit du seigneur, groping an alarmed Ophelia in plain sight of her father and brother. At two acts and 100 minutes, there is little plumbing of Hamlet’s psyche in this exceedingly handsome, surface-skimming production by Irina Gachechiladze. “To be or not to be, who cares?” the Prince of Denmark (Matt Weiss) says, or said on Monday night, anyway; the line is not in Mr. Akunin’s script. In either case, this is a play about intrigue: amid palace dysfunction, a corpse-strewn power grab.

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