Web version: Hamlet meets technology



4 stars

Indiana Repertory Theatre

Directed by Andrew Tsao

Through Nov. 3

In the IRT’s 90-minute version of “Hamlet,” part of the Theater for Young Audiences program, Ophelia’s concerned brother gives her a cell phone, Laertes is given a credit card to go back to school, the play within the play is a movie and Hamlet goes ghost hunting with a video recorder. One entire scene is replaced with a musical montage between Ophelia and Hamlet, who share iPod earbuds.

The show retains the thick Shakespearian speak we have all muddled through, but the addition of these modern elements (and others) helps people relate to the characters, especially students, and often elicits a laugh from the audience.

An IRT first-timer, Chicago-based Matthew Brumlow, leads a cast that is packed with local actors. As the black-leather-clad Hamlet, Brumlow makes the character’s dark emotions — agitation, depression, grief, fear — physical in his movement-filled performance. His actions emphatically emphasize his words, which helps communicate meaning.

Surrounding Hamlet are Robert Neal as Claudius, Benjamin Harris as Horatio, Nick Carpenter as Laertes, Brian Noffke as Polonius, Lynne Perkins as Gertrude, Jessica Martin as Ophelia, Ben Tebbe as Rosencrantz and Collin Poynter as Guildenstern. Director Andrew Tsao coaxes clear performances from them all. I just wish they had slowed down a little.

In addition to Hamlet’s leather, Joel Ebarb’s costuming is eclectic and eye-catching, and Robert Koharchik (scenic design), Ryan Koharchik (lights) and Todd Mack Reischman (sound) create an atmosphere that reflects the familial discord.

Be sure to read the notes in the program, which give you some excellent information.

Through Nov. 3. Tickets begin at $34. For specific dates and times, check the Web site, www.irtlive.com.