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South Simcoe Theatre presents I Hate Hamlet: a comedy from beyond the grave

March 9, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

 The South Simcoe Theatre is presenting I Hate Hamlet on its Cookstown stage now through Sunday, Mar. 19.

Written by Paul Rudnick and produced by Mel Hinch, this comedy is set in New York City with a cast of six. Unfortunately, one of them is already dead.

When actor, Andrew Rally, played by Richard Varty, finds out his television show has been cancelled, he must make a career decision if he wants to continue acting and stay in the limelight. It’s off to the Big Apple, where Andrew decides to start performing in live theatre to give his career the boost it needs.

His real estate agent, Felicia Dantine, played by Jennifer Bedard, is a true New Yorker who shows him an apartment once owned by legendary actor John Barrymore.

Andrew is less than thrilled when he sees the place, finding it outdated and not really his style.

His girlfriend Deirdre, however, loves the place – especially when she finds out John Barrymore once lived there. Dierdre, a 29-year-old perpetual virgin and romantic dreamer, persuades him to keep the apartment.

Felicia, a self-described clairvoyant, convinces them to have a séance to conjure the spirit of Barrymore.

Barrymore does appear, but only to Andrew – at first.

Stuart Todd, in the role of Barrymore, is everything you would expect him to be. He’s flamboyant, over the top, and from a different era. He is humbled slightly when Dierdre finds a copy of his biography, which describes him as a drunk, womanizer, and serial partier, who was married four times.

Andrew’s agent, Lillian, played by Cathy McCauley, gets him to work in a local production of Hamlet.

Lillian insists it will be good for his career. When she meets Barrymore later, the mystery deepens when it seems they have a past together, despite Barrymore dying years earlier.

After several auditions, Andrew lands the lead role in the legendary play.

While Lillian and Dierdre encourage him, Andrew is filled with self-doubt when it comes to playing one of the most famous theatre roles of all time.

His old friend, and a director from Los Angeles, Gary Lefkowitz, played by Jan Nybida, arrives in New York. He is less confident in Richard’s ability as an actor and tries to convince him to return to the west coast to take on another television project.

Gary mocks stage acting and insists television is the true medium and the one that pays real money.

Barrymore gives him some acting tips on how to play Hamlet.

Andrew decides he must go through with the play, but will he provide a great performance, or will he crash and burn on stage?

Opening night for I Hate Hamlet, at the South Simcoe Theatre was Thursday, Mar. 2. The show will run through to Sunday, Mar. 19. Performances are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 p.m.

Please note that The South Simcoe Theatre no longer requires vaccination passports but does suggest wearing a mask for everyone’s safety.

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