Super Hamlet 64: Parody DLC
The Warren: Studio 2
Armed with an ocarina, a ukulele and a thirst for revenge. Techno-retro-deconstructo clowno Edward Day battled through four decades of video game nostalgia, in his personal physical explosion of Shakespeare, live music, and projection mapped, 16 bit ridiculousness.
Using his premise of clashing the themes and narrative of Hamlet with retro video games and our workaholic culture and addiction to technology, Day’s Hamlet drives himself to the brink of sanity in an unending quest to kill his uncle Lugi and win at life, time after time.
Although Day suggested there was an undercurrent of introspection and his reflections on mental health I didn’t feel this accomplished, what did come across is what happens if people spend too long practicing miming and voicing the action of computer games they have played. I drifted off after about ten endless minutes of ‘ptooohhh’ and ‘twanggg’, ‘bababoosh’ and ‘clunngggk’ that were rapid fire’ d out interspersed with snatches of soliloquy and literally lost the plot.
The inclusion of a rather interesting song, with furious lyrics far too dense to completely catch was a nice aside, not quite sure of what it was doing in the show other than to show case Day’s ability to play a few instruments rather well and provide a layered built up backing track for his ethereal ocarina playing, (nice Zelda reference). I’d have been very happy to have a few more moments of the ocarina and less ‘pataowww’, ‘blatashhh’ and ‘exxxplungggge!’ with the accompanying hand movements.
Overall there were some brilliant flashes of dark humour, I particularly liked the idea of an ‘easy life’ to a ‘hard life’ at the beginning, but this examination of white male privilege was quickly abandoned in favour of shoot-ups, played out violence and murderous rampages. A missed opportunity and perhaps something Day should consider working up further. Some of the meshes of Hamlet with the low –tech also worked well, both exposing the silliness (and well-loved indulgences) of the other and the use of video projections to run alongside and interact with his highly physical content worked well.
I took along the most geeky geek I knew who got all the game references, and there was an encyclopaedic collection of them, I guess every single game platform and title ever made was quoted at some time and the rest of the audience seemed to delight in this name checking. There was quite a lot of this, and as a non-gamer it washed over me, Day’s obvious love of Shakespeare shines though and his ability to insert some serious daftness into Hamlett’s narrative gave me the biggest laughs.
The deeper element to this comedy quickly became overpowered by the more ridiculous elements of culture clashing and the thick vein of interesting potential; the effects of technology on our mental health and feelings of connectivity to our fellow humans became an optional side quest which was not properly explored.
Day is an energetic and engaging performer; he is charming and fun and clowns with a furious passion, helped along by an ability to contort his plastic features and sinuous lanky frame in many ways at once. His ability to perform to extreme is aided by the well thought out video mapping and under-stated sophistication of his technical support and the show as a concept worked well. It could do with a little trimming and some added depth, but that’s one opinion from an audience that left rather pleased with this show and certainly seemed like they’d had the geek 64 bit splatter fest promised.
Dance & Physical Theatre
May 8: 19:45 May 20-21: 14:30
£9.50(£8) Student £7 [1hr]