Note: Entire Contents Copyright 2017 by Tony Annicone
Christian blocks the show beautifully especially the seance scene and Barrymore with Lillian scene. Another outstanding moment in the show is the swordfight at the end of Act 1 between Andrew and Barrymore. The gorgeous Greenwich Village apartment set is by Lloyd Felix and Jim Belanger. Chris Plonka is splendid as Andrew Rally and wins the hearts of the audience with this appealing character. His verbal sparring with the other characters about taking on the role of Hamlet is very funny. Chris as Andrew grows from insecure actor into an actor longing to improve his craft with Barrymore tutoring him. Chris' facial expressions and reactions to the crazy Barrymore antics are priceless, too. The flamboyant and larger than life John Barrymore is expertly played by Rick Bagley. He has many one liners that are hilarious as he steals many a scene because this role fits him to a tee. Rick also has some serious moments when he encourages Andrew to seek the truth in his acting. Barrymore tells Andrew not to sell out and confesses that he left the theater because of memory problems, inducing him to enter films. One of his funniest lines is when he proclaims that actors playing Hamlet stuff their tights with socks, newspapers and some times anything they can find. Both leads are fantastic in this show.
The rest of the cast live up to the high standards of these two splendid actors. Caraline Connor, a beautiful red head is brilliant as Deidre, Andrew's virginal girlfriend. She captures the exuberant nature of this girl especially in the last scene when she thinks Andrew's playing Hamlet makes him sexy and appealing. Caraline is ethereal and high energy in this role. Maureen Noel is hilarious as the German agent who once dated Barrymore. Her accent is terrific and lines are comical but she also has a touching scene with Barrymore in Act 2. Where they dance together and she leads him upstairs for unfinished business. Kathy Russell is humorous as the real estate agent who channels her mother to conduct the seance. Her voice as the mother in the seance is very funny. Alvaro Beltran is a hoot as the pushy, skirt chasing producer who tries to entice Andrew to return to Hollywood for a three million dollar deal. So for a laugh riot of a show, be sure to catch "I Hate Hamlet" at Arctic Playhouse. Tell them Tony sent you.