Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Florida - West Coast

I Hate Hamlet
The Players Theatre

Also see Bill's reviews of Secrets and Sequins and The Hound of the Baskervilles

Daniel Pelissier and Philip Alexander
I Hate Hamlet by Paul Rudnick is the second offering in The Players Theatre's Summer Sizzler Series. I can understand how this play keeps showing up in community theater, but in truth it is not solidly funny, merely a juxtaposition of stock characters, mismatched to each other with a few funny lines. And it doesn't offer any universal truth to offset its comic weaknesses. In the hands of brilliant actors this play might present itself as a reasonably entertaining afternoon or evening, but The Players does not rise to the occasion, I'm sorry to say.

Daniel Pelissier as television actor Andrew Rally, who is about to play Hamlet, projects the limited range that his character is supposed to have, but I don't get the feeling that his performance nails the character. Philip Alexander is the liveliest actor on the stage, projecting John Barrymore's colossal showiness, but not really demonstrating his star quality. Kaitlynn Barrett as Dierdre McDavey, Andrew's girlfriend, projects the right dewy-eyed qualities the character is supposed to have but I kept thinking that she is a little beyond the character's years. Carolyn Zaput as Felicia Dantine is simply too gauche to be a successful real estate agent in Manhattan, let alone with desires for Beverly Hills. Melliss Swenson does what she can in the totally thankless role of Andrew's agent. Baron Garriott, a late substitution as producer Gary Peter Lefkowitz plays the part as a classless Hollywood type, but he seems not to really understand him, an Easterner who has never really experienced Southern California.

None of the actors is helped by costuming off the theater's racks by Georgina Willmott. The dress that Dierdre wears in the first act is out of period and one of the ugliest things I have ever seen—way out of character for a princess from a rich family which the play later informs us she is. There are many other costuming gaffs that seriously detract from the production. The set by Jeffrey Weber also is not the best I have seen on this stage. There were unfortunately a limited number of people at the performance I attended, so perhaps dollars are an issue. Gary Allan Breul, one of the region's finest stage managers and sometime directors does not seem to be at the top of his game here, but these parts require talents that his cast simply does not possess.

I'm sorry to have to be so negative but The Players Theatre has not been able to breathe life into this lackluster play.

I Hate Hamlet, through July 19, 2015, at The Players Theatre, 838 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL. Box Office (941) 365-2494. For more information visit

Felicia Dantine: Carolyn Zaput
Andrew Rally: Daniel Pelissier
Dierdre McDavey: Kaitlynn Barrett
Lillian Troy: Melliss Swenson
John Barrymore: Philip Alexander
Gary peter Lefkowitz: Baron Garriott

Director: Gary Allan Breul
Set Design: Jeffrey Weber
Lighting Design: Nick Jones
Technical Director: Nate Myers
Sound Design/AVLE: Seth Berry
Costumes: Georgina Willmott

Photo: Don Daly

--William S. Oser