January 18th, 2015


An Otaku reviews Hamlet

My dad dragged me to the first performance of Hamlet yesterday. I wish he hadn’t bothered. It was so “blocky”, so full of overacting, and the bald guy playing the ghost looked about as scary as a pancake. The lighting didn’t help, either: in fact it rained. As for the OST, it was drums and trumpets! So 1580s. So predictable. So Chamberlain’s Men.

I came away with a strong, bitter taste of déjà vu. This plot is old. Hell, this exact same story was done – better – a few years ago by Thomas Kyd, and even that was just a warmed over version of The Spanish Tragedy. Now there was a real genre-busting piece! They don’t make them like TST any more. Ophelia, the Bel-Imperia character in Hamlet, doesn’t do much of anything – no stabbing, no poisoning. She’s basically just there for the fan service and to be a wuss.

She and Hamlet had, like, zero backstory, anyway, so how could they ask me to care about them? I’d have liked a Nine Men’s Morris episode or something, where the characters were just hanging out and we got to see a bit more of what they were like before they turned terminally angsty. In this play you only see them in a crisis, and that makes the characters seem – kind of thin, you know? Like they were just invented to move the plot forward? You can’t squeeze a story like this into just five Acts, anyway.

Laertes was bad-ass, though. Definitely my favourite character.

Simon Forman Jr., aged 13 and three fourths.