Adelaide Fringe 2013
Sound and Fury’s ‘Hamlet and Juliet’
Sound and Fury
Venue: Pig Tales – Gluttony, Rymill Park, Corner of East Terrace and Rundle Road, Adelaide
Festival: Adelaide Fringe
Shakespeare as it should be experienced is realised when three actors fuse Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet into a nouveau vaudeville comedy. This is a dynamic show that is fuelled by audience reaction, popular culture, and slapstick-comedy.
Richard Maritzer, Patrick Hercamp and Ryan Wells bring the atmosphere from The Globe theatre in the 1600s to present-day Adelaide. Their attempt to perform Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet as one play through improvisation and feeding off the audience’s reactions is hilariously successful. The resulting story goes something like this: in fair Elsinore the ghost of Hamlet’s father comes to him in a dream and explains that Hamlet needs to avenge his death. Unfortunately, Hamlet is distracted by Juliet at a party and he spends the night at her balcony declaring his love for her. Juliet responds favourably, as expected, and they marry in secret.
Unfortunately, Hamlet’s uncle has caught wind of his plan to avenge the death of the former king and sends Hamlet to England in exile. This is just as well since Hamlet accidentally killed Juliet’s father in a case of mistaken identity. The play continues in this flummoxing manner punctuated by references to popular culture, wisecracks, jibes, and light-hearted banter until the end—a tragedy for all the wrong reasons.
The script is part Shakespeare, mostly improvisation, and references to popular culture to put the story and characters in context. Maritzer, Hercamp and Wells are a fantastic team working smoothly and welcoming the audience into the performance. Of note are Maritzer’s interpretation of Hamlet, Wells’ quips, and the way Hercamp executes physical comedy. They are adept at adapting the show for their audience and knowing how to gain a reaction, which is admirable along with their spontaneity.
The stage could have used more props to establish the scene and a soundtrack would have added to the feeling of an authentic Shakespearean performance; however, the original songs and parodies of tunes contained enough wit and comedy to sustain the audience’s connection. There were no lighting or visual effects, but this again could have been added to the backdrop as a point of interest and add to the feeling of the Globe theatre.
Sound and Fury performed an excellent enactment that might have even been a hit at the Globe during Shakespeare’s time, give or take a few references to Snooki, Lindsay Lohan and Taylor Swift. The collaboration and improvisation was remarkable with different levels of humour to appeal to the entire audience.