This past Saturday, a friend and I made the pilgrimage to see I Hate Hamlet
over at Ruben’s Café on Blanco road, off Basse in an area where every shopping center we passed looked exactly
the same. It was my first dinner-theater experience and I was open to anything that Damian Gillen and The Company Theatre threw at me. I went through a gamut of emotions—and was rewarded with a cookie during intermission for my hard work. (Well, actually the people at Ruben’s offered dessert, so that explains it.)
In a nutshell, Andrew Rally, our anti-hero, is a TV actor that is offered to play the role of Hamlet in a Shakespeare in the Park performance. Deidre McDavey, his doting virginal girlfriend, goes crazy with delight over the possibility of her boyfriend playing a Shakespearean character actor … Rally not so much, that is until the ghost of John Barrymore arrives and hilarity ensues.
I had a somewhat love-hate relationship for Daniel Sparks’ character of Andrew. His “Oh, Brother” facial expressions were a bit stale and unrealistic. He did show range towards the second act. His character fully developed and instead of being a money-hungry faded TV- star man-boy he morphed into a once-faded TV-star man
. Deidre is played awkwardly by Becky Matthews; now let me explain … to understand Deidre is to understand that she’s a hopeless romantic, a girl who believes in fairytales, anxiously waiting for her Prince Charming to whisk her off her feet. Instead, she’s paired with Andrew, a mediocre mate she adores. Her awe-shucks appeal may leave some audience members queasy. It could be a result of overacting— whatever the case it didn’t fare well with me, but the audience ate it up.
Gallien is flawless in his role as the ghost of Barrymore. His accent, his presence, his libido are in the spotlight and are definitely the reason why the show is so well received. I also loved the immensely low budget props. The Company made the scant space work with only one setting.
It was an interesting show to check out and it’s always nice to see small dinner theaters bringing in large crowds (with a string of sold-out performances, including a packed house the night we attended). The Company’s Dinnerbox series (which I Hate Hamlet
is part of) has consistently delivered out-of-the-ordinary performances showcasing Gallien’s superb acting and the group’s range of comedic talents.
I Hate Hamlet
March 1 (last performance)
14357 Blanco Rd.