New York | 1h 15m | Already closed

David Carl’s Celebrity One-Man Hamlet

From 11 critic and 40 member reviews
Members say: Clever, Hilarious, Original, Funny, Ambitious

About the show

Formerly known as 'Gary Busey's One-Man Hamlet,' David Carl's solo show is an absurdist romp through Shakespeare, pop culture, and life in the theatre. More…

Gary has decided he will perform all the parts in Shakespeare's 'Hamlet' in order to prove that he still has "the chops." Switching between beat poet narrator, puppeteer, musical theatre singer, horror film director, and "great" actor, Gary Busey (as imagined by David Carl) plays each scene in the style he feels appropriate. A mix of high- and low-brow comedy, 'David Carl’s Celebrity One-Man Hamlet' celebrates Shakespeare's play by proving it is still relevant, applicable, and moving in the jaded, celebrity-crazy, meme-obsessed world we live in.

1h 15m | Already closed | The PIT Loft (Chelsea)

Theatre is Easy

"Just see it—it’s a freaking good time...David Carl is a snarling, hillarious maniac. He keeps Busey intense and larger than life, but never over the top. Carl’s timing is spot-on, relentless, and never overindulgent. David Carl finds gritty soul and howling truth...There are moments that are breathlessly hilarious...The ride is just a ton of fun...If you want to shamelessly laugh your brains out, grab a ticket to 'Gary Busey's One-Man Hamlet' and enjoy the ride!" Full Review

The New York Times

"It’s a deliciously deranged performance, putting across the 'Hamlet' story but also sampling Mr. Busey’s film roles and personal grievances...Mr. Carl, who bears a resemblance to a young Mr. Busey, is always in complete control as he races through this out-of-control performance...He and the director, Michole Biancosino, know just how far to let things run off the rails before bringing Mr. Carl back on point by having him deliver some actual Shakespeare, which he does trippingly." Full Review

British Theatre Guide

for a previous production "It's a brilliant act of mimicry, with Carl embodying the exaggerated persona of a man over 40 years his senior with practised ease...It's a surprisingly close working of the play, as ostensibly each act and scene is performed to some extent. Although with some notable moments of hilarious adaptation...Bafflingly bizarre and pant-soilingly hysterical...this is a show that may seem like a clash of ideas, but Shakespeare has never met Hollywood this entertainingly before." Full Review

Broadway Baby

for a previous production "Condenses the tragedy’s five laborious acts into 70 batshit-crazy-hilarious minutes...Impressive as Carl is as he affects every tic, twitch and yip of Busey’s, he’s also remarkably good at just flat doing the Shakespeare. He speaks the speeches with the skill of a serious thesp and blends Busey’s crazy outbursts into Hamlet's mental breakdown. It all works, but just as it teeters too heavily toward tragic, he defaults to comedy, assuring the Prince that, 'Life is like a box of chocolates.'" Full Review

NY Theater Now

for a previous production "David Carl’s 'Gary Busey’s One-Man Hamlet' is definitely OTT. Ambitious, audacious, kitsch, slapstick, and extremely energetic. Bravo...Bits are heavy-handed, not that that’s a criticism, just an observation...Brilliant staging throughout by director Michole Biancosino....Carl gives an amazing rendition of Busey himself; full of ego, panache and self-aggrandizement. A joyous show." Full Review

Time Out New York

for a previous production "As much stupid fun as its title suggests. With his death-mask grimace and penchant for New Agey acronyms, the barking-mad Busey is here to prove his 'chops' by playing all roles in the classic tragedy...For what is essentially a stunt, the piece is neatly crafted and packed with running gags. The high point might be when Carl stages the fight between Hamlet and Laertes in Ophelia's grave as a bloody hand-to-hand brawl between the live actor and a projected video. It’s crazy hilarious." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

for a previous production "Judging by the audience reaction, Carl has a sizable fan base. It’s well-deserved, but even more impressive than his Busey is his ability to return to the text after all of the moments where he goes off script. My only criticism is that, given all of the references in the play, an annotated guide would be handy. But whether you’re a first-timer at the fest like me or a seasoned veteran, you should not miss this inspired entry." Full Review

Edinburgh Spotlight

for a previous production "The pace never flags, and includes some apt variation for all its forward drive, and the humor ranges from wit to slapstick...The 'Hamlet' story is told through all this, mostly clear, and does actually survive all the comedy antics... There are also subtle areas of perception, comedy and tragedy touched upon: just what is funny / mad / tragic? Well, 'Gary Busey’s One-Man Hamlet as performed by David Carl' is all three, but above all it is very, very funny." Full Review

Theater In The Now

for a previous production "The writing of the piece is near perfection. With Busey-faced puppets representing characters to the 'Hair' version of 'What a Piece of Work is Man' to the final fight where he battles himself on screen, the bits are what make this abridged version of 'Hamlet' a success...Where Carl struggles is giving Busey the ability to play the characters...It's a struggle that may be on the bottom of the priority list with everything else so great and fine-tuned." Full Review

Stage Buddy

for a previous production "David Carl’s embodiment of the Gary Busey persona is surprisingly also rounded out with some endearing qualities. Carl keeps Busey human, allowing the audience to get led into 'Hamlet' by someone as crazy as he...Carl is always able to return to the melody and in his hands, Shakespeare’s language sings...Carl does sacrifice the emotional weight of the work...Using a real, vulnerable moment could have undercut the madcap tone of the play, lending it more dimension." Full Review

The Stage (UK)

for a previous production "Carl is an energetic performer who bears a good deal more than a passing resemblance to Busey in his prime but it is a big ask to watch him rattle through the entire plot of 'Hamlet' with the volume cranked to 11 and the point nowhere to be seen...There are a few good lines, and an awesome sequence in which Carl fights with himself with the aid of a self-shot video projection, but this is largely just frat-boy fluff. A single, almost-decent joke stretched out beyond its capabilities." Full Review

Absorbing, Ambitious, Edgy, Great acting, Masterful

See it if you not only love Gary but also Shakespeare. This was a real treat! Intense!

Don't see it if You don't like modern takes on Billy Shakes...

Clever, Funny, Edgy, Hilarious, Must see

See it if you love Hamlet and want to be yelled at about how crazy everything is. This was hands down the most fun show I been to - bring a friend!

Don't see it if you don't like loud people - it's a loud show.

Clever, Funny, Great acting, Original, Entertaining

See it if You like truly original work, really good solo performers, and a little improv.

Don't see it if You don't think people should mess around with Shakespeare.

Clever, Entertaining, Hilarious, Original, Ambitious

See it if you're interested watching the long-lost (but talented!) love child of Gary Busey and Napoleon Dynamite perform Hamlet as a one man show.

Don't see it if you're truly wanting/expecting to see a traditionally staged and acted version of Shakespeare's Hamlet.

Clever, Original, Epic, Hilarious, Quirky

See it if So fast-paced! Exciting, funny, and break-neck.

Don't see it if Sometimes significant cuts.

Delightful, Refreshing, Funny, Quirky, Ambitious

See it if you know Hamlet and want to see it thru the eyes of crazy persona Busey. I did by the end however, desire more Busey and less Hamlet.

Don't see it if you don't want to be out late (it's a late show), you want something with bells and whistles. Here's to a bigger prop budget next time!

Clever, Ambitious, Confusing

See it if You enjoy new takes on Shakespeare and preferably know Hamlet pretty well

Don't see it if You don't like Shakespeare out Gary Busey. If you don't know who Gary Busey is. If you've never seen it read Hamlet.

Clever, Funny, Quirky, Indulgent, Ambitious

See it if you like Hamlet or Gary Busey or both.

Don't see it if you want the story of Hamlet

Entertaining, Funny, Hilarious, Quirky, Unique

See it if You want to laugh along with a great improv actor and his take on Gary Busey and Hamlet.

Don't see it if You don't like improv.

Original, Edgy

See it if You like one man shows with a stand-up comic flare.

Don't see it if You don't like shouting.

Disappointing, Original, Indulgent

See it if you know the mannerisms of Gary Busey, & enjoy comedy directed to the audience (aka intense eye contact).

Don't see it if if you aren't familiar with Busey & don't enjoy comedy parodies. Also, don't sit in the first few rows as the actor spits a lot.

Ambitious, Great writing, Masterful, Must see, Riveting

See it if You are interested in taking a peek inside American history from the view of the amazing and talented Lin-Manuel Miranda

Don't see it if Swearing bothers you

Delightful, Entertaining, Hilarious, Original, Refreshing

See it if You want to have a good time and see an original, interesting take on both Shakespeare and Gary Busey

Don't see it if You don't care for Hamlet or Gary Busey

Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Hilarious, Original

See it if you like Shakespeare, Gary Busey and laughing.

Don't see it if you're a stick in the mud.

Masterful, Hilarious, Riveting, Great acting, Great writing

See it if If you love tour de force performances, David Carl marries the verbal dexterity of Python to the relentless physicality of Belushi. Sublime.

Don't see it if If you're braindead. And even then maybe still see it. It very well could be responsible for the regeneration of brain cells.

Intelligent, Great acting, Hilarious, Entertaining, Original

See it if Love comedy, Shakespeare, Gary Busey or even if you don't know/like those things. You will be entertained.

Don't see it if You hate laughing.

Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Hilarious, Original

See it if You're a fan of Busey, Shakespeare, and/or David Carl. Massively entertaining for pretty much anyone; with energy, excitement, and laughs.

Don't see it if If you hate Shakespearean language, or if you don't find Gary Busey amusing (or at least intriguing) you might not be ready for this.

Ambitious, Must see, Intense, Hilarious, Quirky

See it if you enjoy a different take on Shakespeare that is off the wall and yet otherwise true to the text.

Don't see it if you hate greatness.

Ambitious, Clever, Entertaining, Dizzying, Funny

See it if You can't sit through Shakespeare but know that you should, you like to laugh and you appreciate intelligence.

Don't see it if You like only traditional, old school theatre.

Clever, Hilarious, Intelligent

See it if You like intelligent improv comedy

Don't see it if If you think the classics should be done a certain way.

Ambitious, Entertaining, Dizzying, Funny, Hilarious

See it if You appreciate the fine line between crazy and genius. Only the greats can pull it off. David Carl pulls it off. See the show!

Don't see it if What?! See the show dummy!

Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Dizzying, Funny

See it if You love theater, Shakespeare, comedy!

Don't see it if You have no soul.

Hilarious, Original, Zany, Absorbing, Delightful

See it if You love Shakespeare. You love Gary Busey. You love discovery.

Don't see it if You hate Shakespeare. You hate Gary Busey. You hate discovery and joy and pure hilarity

Funny, Clever, Epic, Great staging, Ambitious

See it if You love innovative, hilarious, well acted comedy. If you love Gary Busey and Hamlet bonus points! Wonderful show!

Don't see it if You hate Busey, Shakespeare and great comedy.

Absorbing, Clever, Enchanting, Entertaining, Funny

See it if If you want to be endlessly entertained by David Carl's brilliant Busey.

Don't see it if if you have a stick in your ass

Cast & Creatives (4)