Adelaide Fringe 2012
Guy Masterson’s presence once again fills the theatre and he demonstrates his power and command over this play with ease and expertise. This one-man show runs parallel to Hamlet, drawing on similar themes and scenes stirring emotions from a wide spectrum. The story deviates and digresses, but Masterson is entertaining and compelling as he draws the audience into the scene and giving them a taste of backstage theatrics and drama.
The story starts with an actor experiencing pre-performance jitters 35 minutes before the curtains are raised. He tries to calm down with self-analytical ramblings, exaggerated warm up techniques, and bleak humour. The play progresses in a similar fashion, but the actor delves into deeper, darker parts of his psyche. The audience is drawn into the compelling story with enigmatic clues and keepsakes that are eventually explained. The actor’s initial charm and humour create an instant connection with the audience and subsequently they are prone to championing him and hoping that he rises out of the swirling madness triumphant.
Masterson gives an inimitable performance and plays the role to perfection—he is witty, charming, despondent, and vulnerable all at once. He is not afraid to leap and dance all over the stage and effect his emotions entirely. it is probably just as well that this is a one-man show as Masterson sets a very high standard and displays his passion for the theatre and embraces his character in a very unique way.
The script feels tedious in some parts—the madness of this character and Hamlet is exaggerated without fully exploring his complexity and deeper emotions. It is during these parts that the audience has a chance to appreciate Masterson’s stirring performance. Lighting was minimal throughout, except for a well-timed startling change when the actor discovers a hidden treasure in his cupboard. Props were simple, but effective—Masterson purposefully used all objects for dramatic effect and add context to his narrative.
The evening was an overall success with Masterson taking centre stage and delighting once again. He is one of the few actors who are not afraid to consolidate their presence and control with enormous gestures and physical action. This Hamletesque play will stir a range of emotions from melancholy to elation and everything in between. If Masterson’s backstage theatrics were anything to go by, it would certainly be a treat to watch him in a one-man production of Hamlet!