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Hamlet & Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

  • Theater, Drama
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.Pearl Theatre Company (see Off Broadway). By Tom Stoppard. Directed by John Rando. With ensemble cast. Running time: 2hrs 35mins. One intermission.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead: In brief

The touring Acting Company, a breeding ground for thespian talent, presents two complementary plays in rep: Shakespeare's tragedy of revenge and cognition (directed by Ian Belknap) and Tom Stoppard's cheeky sidelong glance at it (directed by John Rando).

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead: Theater review by Diane Snyder

The Acting Company’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead plays in rep with Hamlet (naturally). However, it could just as soon be a companion piece for Waiting for Godot. In upgrading the melancholy Dane’s chums from bit players to protagonists with existential crises of their own almost 50 years ago, a young, astute Tom Stoppard built on existing plays while crafting one very much his own, as he demonstrated that fear of “not being” starts early in life.

His cunning wordplay about fate and death and even mathematical probability pierces the senses, rendered with heartfelt wit and clever sagacity in Tony-winning Urinetown director John Rando’s smart production. In standout performances, Grant Fletcher Prewitt’s small, chirpy Rosencrantz and Ian Gould’s large, verbose Guildenstern straddle the work’s intellectual and comic proclivities with panache. At times in their quest for understanding, they emerge as an overwrought comedic duo, looking, in Candice Donnelly’s Elizabethan-style costumes, like anguished clowns. But aren’t we all in the end?—Theater review by Diane Snyder

THE BOTTOM LINE Stoppard’s classic riff lives to quip again.

Follow Diane Snyder on Twitter: @DianeLSnyder

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