Bob Daddah raves!
“James Jennings did a great job of directing”
“Thom Leverton is superb and unforgettable”
“Alan Hasnas is incredible”
“Jessica Jennings is powerful and mesmerizing”
“Jane Culley is an extremely strong actress”
Curtain Up! http://www.curtainup.com/hamletuncut.html
At ATA Artistic Director and director Jim Jennings continues to demonstrate his love for Shakespeare with at least two works per year. At this time he offers a solid version of Hamlet. He always uses exceptional actors. Jane Culley, a formidable Gertrude, Jessica Jennings, a poetic, touching Ophelia (one of the most convincing seen in many years). The elegant Alan Hasnas and a talented, agile, energetic Hamlet (Thomas Leverton).
– Review by Mario Fratti
Review by: Bill Bradford for HI Drama!
Manhattan Neighborhood Network – Public Access Cable Show
Airs every other Saturday at 1:30-2pm
Time Warner – Channel 56, RCN – Channel 86, FIOS- Channel 34
Next Air Date – February 11th, 2012
HAMLET by William Shakespeare ( Original/Unabridged Version) Directed by James Jennings
At: American Theatre of Actors – Chernuchin Theatre / 314 West 54th Street, Manhattan Thru Sunday – February 12th, 2012
To some individuals what, THE RING CYCLE is to Opera, HAMLET, is to Theatre. The ATA current production is very commendable and deserves recognition as it is one of the few times offered to see the complete HAMLET. It is a bit ambitious for the audience to persevere thru this 4 hour rendition. James Jennings assembled a very capable and talented cast. Along with his tight paced and high energy directing, kept the play moving and at a good tempo and overall kept the audience interest and attention throughout.
The basic plot is of young Hamlet who is determined to prove that his Uncle, and now his stepfather murdered his father. Also involved is the Uncle’s/Stepfather’s friend’s daughter, Ophelia who is in a relationship with Hamlet. Hamlet is relentless and obsessive to prove his Uncle’s guilt and along the way, Ophelia’s father is accidentally murdered by Hamlet who thinks that it is his Uncle spying on him. Hamlet also renounces Ophelia and as a result and (because of) her father’s death, she has a breakdown and commits suicide. Her brother then is convinced by the Uncle to seek revenge and sets up a duel with Hamlet. By the play’s end some might (have) considered it the quintessential family (in this case two families) tragedy where everyone dies.
The entire cast was brilliant most notably among the principals as the Uncle/Stepfather Claudius – Alan Hasnas displayed an unsettling quality that was at the core of his evil devices from the very start. Hamlet’s mother Gertrude portrayed by Jane Culley was on the surface doting on her son and trying to be liked only that underneath she had her own ulterior motives like Claudius. As the friend of Claudius – Polonius, William Graville did a different take on one of the most memorable monologues – ( “This above all, to thy own self be true”) and instead of posturing, delivered it as it was an everyday approach to life. As his son, Laertes, Garrett Dill was attentive throughout to everyone and the relationship between him and his sister, Ophelia was totally believable. Jessica Jennings as Ophelia (both) convinced us of her love towards her brother and for Hamlet. She also broke our hearts after being renounced by Hamlet and then with her father’s death, with her fall into depression and madness. Tying everyone in together of course is Hamlet. Thomas Leverton is very accomplished and makes this task horse of a role seem effortless. He does not slip into any histrionics but is totally natural and realistic. He commands our attention without demanding it. He projects and has true passion in his craft and has such a rapture that he seemed to be projecting to an nonexistent second balcony. His performance filled this theatre and then some. Definitely keep a look out for him.
This has a large cast and everyone was notable and held their own with the principal characters. Looking forward to seeing them all in future works. Costuming by Joan Chambers was impeccable and stunning with gorgeous period pieces. Michael Hagins as the Fight/Fencing Choreographer did a brilliant job with these actors especially the final duel with Laertes and Hamlet. There were audible gasps from the audience. Drew Vanderburg kept the atmosphere predominantly dark and gloomy throughout with his effective moody lighting. Alas it would have been great had there been some more in the way of set pieces-decorations as this was a very minimalist set, utilizing basically what the space had to offer. Some flats of Stone walls would have added a lot. This is definitely a worthwhile production to see. So get over to ATA.