CUPPERS: Hamlet - The Musical (Christ Church)

Tue 6th November 2012


Victoria Ibbett

at 01:25 on 7th Nov 2012



'Hamlet! The Musical', kicked off this year’s round of Cuppers with slapstick gusto and good-humored self-mockery. Starting with Hamlet sleeping through his father’s cries of ‘revenge!’, the show incorporated an alcoholic Claudius, nympho Ophelia (the ‘most overrated female character in Shakespeare’) and several ear-abusing snatches of song which didn’t quite do justice to the billing of ‘Musical’.

Luckily, the cast didn’t pretend to polish. The prerogative, as is best for Cuppers, was simply to have a good time. Hamlet, leading with an endearingly careless self-assurance as the ner-do-well revenger, set the tone for the performance. Playing a character as apt to slip into Dizzy Rascal as to deliver a soliloquy, he was clearly relishing the role and his enjoyment was infectious, for all that he was sending up a send-up.

Claudius, the alcoholic uncle, seemed less likely to murder his brother, than to trip over his own feet as he lurched about the stage, ‘Echo Falls’ in hand. Of all the cast he had the best comic timing, delivering his wine-soaked lines to genuine laughter. But perhaps that was luck of the draw: he certainly had some of the better one-liners in a script that was mostly unexciting.

Ophelia and Gertrude were amusing in their own way, and Gertrude especially showed some promise in her role of housebound snob. But the former needed to loosen up a little and the latter needed to pay a bit more attention to her sense of the space around her. Tripping over the props and getting in the way of other characters wasn’t too irritating in a context like Cuppers, but would not stand up elsewhere.

The context is admittedly Cuppers, though, and the tone of Cuppers is usually light hearted. Claudius and Gertrude brought ability to a poor script and Hamlet brought ‘fun’ for himself which frequently enough tipped over into humor for the audience.

I laughed, not infrequently, and that’s a commendation in itself.


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