Absolut Fringe 2012: U-R-HAMLET

Conor Madden's U-R-HAMLET as part of ABSOLUT Fringe

Conor Madden's U-R-HAMLET as part of ABSOLUT Fringe

The first impression that Show in A Bag’s U-R-Hamlet gives is that of tedious lo-fi blah blah blah: a detritus-strewn stage inhabited by a single actor disregarding the fourth wall talking about himself and apples and Brecht. We really don’t come to a show to see actors be their own selves and give us theatre history lessons, do we?
Hmmm. In U-R-Hamlet, Conor Madden invites us into that messy, chaotic no-man’s land between stage door and downstage centre, between real life and performance. In the process he deftly employs the tropes of Shakespeare’s play to illuminate not only the text, but also how an actor might play the text — and how an actor’s life gets taken over by the text. Madden (who also wrote the piece) fluidly goes from being himself, to being ‘himself’, to ‘being’ Hamlet, and in the process shows us why everyone in Denmark wanted the prince to snap out of it: he is, in fact, an intelligent, thoughtful kind of guy who might have made an interesting king.

That’s not where it seemed like we were going to end up, and dramaturg Gavin Kostick and director Jason Byrne trust us to get there ourselves. They leave us with the wish to see this lot do the whole play for real — or is that, for ‘real’?

Star rating: ★★★★★

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Absolut Fringe 2012: U-R-HAMLET by Conor Madden

12, 16-19, 21 Sept 2012 (see Fringe for times)

Produced by Conor Madden
In Bewley's Cafe Theatre

A Show in a Bag presented by ABSOLUT Fringe, Fishamble: The New Play Company and Irish Theatre Institute