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Super Hamlet 64:

Parody DLC at the Rondo Theatre,

Bath Fringe

I’d never actually seen the original Hamlet, but Edward Day’s ‘Super Hamlet 64: Parody DLC’ didn’t rely too heavily on Shakespeare’s original script beyond the plot outline and several choice quotes known throughout pop culture (‘to be or not to be’ etc).

Instead, Edward Day drew upon four decades of video game material and combined them with bits of the original text to deliver a thoroughly modern and original interpretation of Shakespeare.

Hamlet became the ineffectual hero, destined to avenge his father Mario by murdering his uncle Luigi with the help of Ophelia. They faced threats ranging from the villainous Luigi to a full-blown zombie apocalypse.

The entire show was packed with modern and classic references ranging from Super Mario Bros. to Grim Fandango.

A musical segment featured superb performances of Ocarina of Time extracts. However knowing which game the music was from was simply a bonus and did not affect the audience’s enjoyment of the plot.

Day moved like a man possessed at times, effortlessly switching between characters and interacting with the video game projections on the screens behind him. There was some excellent timing and delivery used, allowing him to interact with several pre-recorded pieces such as a segment where Hamlet ‘levels-up’ in order to properly soliloquize.

Day portrayed each character distinctly, used physical humour and wordplay in tandem with the screens to replicate the video game experience. From a morning routine that parodied motion controls to a climax portrayed as a boss battle, Day never ceased to impress.

‘Super Hamlet 64’ was packed with references, though you don’t need much understanding of video games, it does add to the experience.

For me, it was the best original play I have seen. It contained an incredible amount of effort and imagination and delivered on every front.

***** – 5 Stars

Rauri Quinn