Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Lunatic Fringe
The Elsinore Diaries

by Richard Wallace, Seattle Times

Anyone who loves “Hamlet” knows how dangerously close it comes to parody.

Why, if some renegade writers (say, for instance, Daniel Flint, Frank Lawler and Jason Man of Seattle’s One Lump or Two Productions) wanted to turn a masterpiece into a lurid, tabloid-style melodrama — could anyone stop them?

Certainly not the audience for “The Elsinore Diaries.” We were too busy laughing.

These gents have taken Shakespeare’s most complex tragedy and re-imagined almost every character. It all ends the same — with death all around — but nobody except the almost-great Dane (Jason Man) acts quite like you’d expect. Take Ophelia (Jaime Roberts): The girl is about as fragile as rebar. And Gertrude (Jill Snyder): Here’s a Queen who is more in love with her wine selections than her son or her new husband Claudius (Frank Lawler), a man who has definitely left his intelligence in another room. Watch scheming Polonius (Daniel Flint) play this usurper King like a trout on a line.

The show would be much funnier if it were trimmed to an hour, but then we’d miss some of Sarah Mosher’s terrific costumes, the existential laments of the Player. King (Lantz Wagner) and those pirates (Cohn McKenna and Sam Wilson).

Runs 8 p.m. tomorrow, 11 p.m. Thursday, 9 p.m. Saturday at Chamber Theater, 915 East Pine.