The Public Theater’s Mobile Shakespeare Unit presents a streamlined version of the Bard's famous tragedy starring Olivier Award winner Chukwudi Iwuji. More…
Iwuji ('Henry VI Trilogy,' 'King Lear' at The Public) plays the anguished Prince of Denmark who is confronted at every turn with a poisonous power structure that's robbed him of his father, and forever darkened his understanding of the world. Patricia McGregor ('Hurt Village,' 'Ugly Lies the Bone') directs this bold take on Shakespeare's immortal tale about family, deceit, and the explosive consequences of unchecked corruption. The production tours to local community centers, prisons, and homeless shelters before ending its run at the Public.
"When you have not only a stunning performance from the likes of Chukwudi Iwuji—who seems born to play the part—but a full cast of actors in their element, the full force of this, arguably the best play ever written, is overpowering...It’s the play’s mobility that makes its reliance on a stellar cast and precision direction (Patricia McGregor) paramount...To end this run forever after two weeks in residence would be an actual tragedy." Full Review
“The verdict is that this is exciting and vigorous theater at its best. Cut by half, this modern dress production directed by Patricia McGregor runs a brief 100 minutes without an intermission and is easily accessible to all ages. Made up of a cast of nine playing all of the roles, and with minimal scenery, this abbreviated version will at times leave you breathless but will command attention at all times.” Full Review
"'Hamlet' is a great story. A great story of revenge, heartache, betrayal. And the Public Theatre’s Mobile Unit is great storytelling. Their bare-bones attack on the play allows for the words and emotions to rise to the top...Chukwudi Iwuji’s Hamlet is a force to be reckoned with. He fills the room with his heartache, his anger, his confusion...The cast eats the space up with their teeth, their hands, their nails, biting and clawing their way through the story." Full Review
“A lean and spare—but remarkably well-crafted—version of Shakespeare’s tragedy, with performances tailored to work with the production’s quickened pace. Iwuji delivers a stellar, complex Hamlet...The rest of the ensemble is uniformly superb…McGregor’s direction plays into this modern-day morality. While the production is filled throughout with choices that resonate with the racial landscape in America, the clearest and boldest choice comes in the play’s final moments.” Full Review
"'Hamlet' boasts outstanding performances and an intelligently pared-down version of Shakespeare's longest play that speaks frankly to the rottenness of our time...Performed in the round with a simple, efficient set, this production pulls the play out of the past...Iwuji is in charge the rest of the time with his ferocious performance...It's to the Public's credit that it has used Shakespeare's classic tragedy to contribute to a dialogue about the violent tragedies of our day." Full Review
"While the Black Lives Matter movement is never directly addressed, Iwuji's captivating performance as the prince reflects the evolution of emotions when feelings of being helpless to combat the power of authority grow into a passion to topple the system...With a fuller text, McGregor might have delved into more details, but the demands of Mobile Unit productions generally limit storytelling to the main plot points. The fine ensemble includes standout performances by Lloyd and DeMarais." Full Review
"Purists may squawk, but many a time-pressed theatergoer can appreciate a smartly condensed Shakespeare play...Certain performers, such as Royal Shakespeare Company vet Chukwudi Iwuji in the title role, are highly effective; others appear randomly recruited and out of their depth...Iwuji is worth many times the price of admission...Some of the contemporary touches pay off with laughs." Full Review
"McGregor has whittled down the behemoth to two hours. She has jettisoned Fortinbras, ruthlessly cut and trimmed scenes, and greatly ratcheted up the tempo. What's more, a surreal prologue that packs a real emotional wallop has been added...No question Iwuji is the star here. His rendering of the verse is superb, with his voice going from a stage whisper to a stentorian shout in a wink...While Iwuji is mesmerizing, there are others in the cast who also deserve kudos." Full Review
"'Hamlet' holds together well enough as a lean-and-mean story of familial intrigue, and for those who have no other easy access to the play, it's no challenge to imagine many a worse one. But for veterans, what you get doesn't compensate for what you lose. The societal and political context that can make this play unapproachable are critical parts of what it gives it that extra titanic dimension above and beyond even Shakespeare's other masterpieces." Full Review
"Directed by Patricia McGregor, this 'Hamlet' begins beautifully, with a wordless, wounded preamble...But it’s awhile before the play gets its blood pumping...Once Hamlet’s gloom gives way to passion, though, Mr. Iwuji has a wonderfully clear way with the monologues. This is a 'Hamlet' with an emphasis on speed. The text has been slimmed by about half, which can mean some choppy storytelling. But...the cast of nine managed well in the face of obstacles." Full Review
See it if you like Shakespeare, think about revenge, want the change of pace of a show led by black actors, or love inventive staging
Don't see it if you can't handle a few moments of interactive theater
See it if You want to see a great performance of Hamlet w/ a cast that really put their heart into the piece. Great cast, modern take but same verbage
Don't see it if You expect fancy set or costumes, expect the usual pace of Hamlet.
See it if You like understated and straightforward interpretations of classic Shakespeare plays with great acting and minimal staging.
Don't see it if You like musicals or comedies and most definitely if you're not a fan of Shakespeare.
See it if you want to see how a Classic can be updated and abridged without losing it's relevance or importance.
Don't see it if only if you must experience Shakespeare in it's purest form.
See it if You like Shakespeare done by pros! Fresh, accessible, seamless open costume changes, great music-loved it
Don't see it if You like traditional stagings of Shakespeare
See it if you'd like a highly physical, passionate, intensely well-acted (Iwuji and Lloyd!) and diverse Hamlet that's been edited to its dramatic core
Don't see it if you don't like small theater, think you have to spend a lot to get a lot, or hate the Public (JK, no one hates the Public)
See it if You love passionate, fiery acting, shakespeare's relevance to today, engaging captivating intimacy of staging and thought-provoking theater
Don't see it if You don't like powerful theater, or shakespeare, don't like theater in the round, don't want to be moved or provoked to think
See it if You want a muscular, intelligent take on a classic. The Hamlet and Ophelia, in particular, gave us something new to see in this production
Don't see it if A lean cut of Shakespeare offends you. It's tight...If you don't want your classics to speak to current events. This one is quite topical.
See it if you enjoy an 'energetic' shakespeare performed by a vibrant and talented cast employing clever staging.
Don't see it if you like your shakespeare w/o taking any liberties to the script and staging.
See it if You do not mind an abridged version of a classic Shakespeare play performed by actors in modern dress. Many familiar soliloquies included.
Don't see it if You are a classicist. Hate muti-roles Need elaborate sets Cannot sit for a continuous 1 hour 45 minutes
See it if You are interested in Shakespeare, love Hamlet and are open minded and willing to think about new interpretations of the themes.
Don't see it if You can't accept Hamlet infused with modern culture and are not open to any changes in or paring down of the text
See it if You like to see Shakespeare done anew. Chukwudi Iwuji is mesmerizing with so many colors I was constantly surprised. He is 100.
Don't see it if you are too distracted by others in the scene overacting, you dont like your Shakespeare sprinkled with rap, and song.
See it if You enjoy watching a small, talented group of actors breathe new life into words you thought you knew; Iwuji and Pearce are enthralling.
Don't see it if You are bothered by condensed and minimally staged Shakespeare. This is straight-forward but enthralling.
See it if Want to see a raw modern production of a classic. You relish interacting with the actors and feeling as if you're not just a bystander.
Don't see it if Are a purist. Hate when an actor looks you in the eye. Do not like goosebumps.
See it if You like Shakespeare and are familiar with Hamlet, as much of the text is cut. You want a modern telling of the show
Don't see it if You are unfamiliar with Shakespeare or want the play to stay true to its original form
See it if you want an efficient, judiciously edited, and wonderfully acted and staged Hamlet. Marvelously intimate and highly accessible. AND $20.
Don't see it if you've seen too many versions, hate any cuts to the play, or need to see elaborate sets & costumes.
See it if you know Hamlet and are open to a new take. The emotional core is powerful, but much material is cut. Iwuji (RSC trained) is great. Intense.
Don't see it if you hate WS abridgement, but I love the Mobile Unit productions. Not all the actors shone, but Iwuji did. The time flew by; no boredom.
See it if If you enjoy Hamlet pared down to focus on the main plot, with excellent actors working to enhancing comprehension thru gesture & expression
Don't see it if You only like Shakespeare classically staged, or dislike massive edits and textual changes.
See it if You want to see an energetic Hamlet done in a creative, fast-moving style. Not a lot of nuance here, though.
Don't see it if If you prefer your Danes on the quiet, introspective side and taking a languorous pace. This is rat-tat-tat.
Get alerts about your favorite artists and theater companies