Thursday, June 21, 2018


Alcohol and firearms: What could go wrong! John Minigan’s NOIR HAMLET (@ Centastage through June 30th) is a wacky, whiskey soaked send-up of the Bard’s most famous play, with enough disjointed allusions to stymie any private eye. It’s the ‘40s. Hamlet has seen his father’s ghost and is bent on payback. His mother is about to marry his uncleso many clues, so little time in a one-actso Hammy is hot on the case, having stepped into his father’s gumshoes (and maybe the old detective’s secretary, too.)

Director Joe Antoun leaves no stone unturned, no banana unpeeled, no entendre un-doubled in pursuit of laughter. Even the stagehands get into the act. Funny stuff! Just what the doctor ordered to distract us from the sad state of the world… even for a few minutes. Minigan throws the strangest references our way: You’ll find Duke Orsino lurking in the dialogue, along with Signor Wencas, and patter from Casablanca and The Mikado, no less!

Best of all is Antoun’s cast: Paul Melendy, whose arched, left eyebrow has a comic life of its own, is our hapless P.I. (The noir treatment of the story is mother’s milk to the ravenous actor). Cristhian Mancinas-Garcia is ravishing as the femme fatale (!) and plenty creepy as the sinister coroner. Robert Murphy, too, pops up as the ghost, the uncle and a nefarious character with insider info to trade. Liz Adams as Gertrude steals the show in her slinky, red negligee and platinum Jean Harlow coif, not an easy task with Mancinas-Garcia looking so coquettish in drag! You know the scenery will be chewed to bits. It’s NOIR on steroids. Antoun even borrows from THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY for the lunatic gunfight finale. Don’t miss the hilarious mayhem