Writing and editing student living in Brunswick East.
As the lively crowd took their seats and chattered to each other excitedly, the lights dimmed and an unassuming man dressed in a black t-shirt and jeans appeared from behind the red velvet curtain for what I assumed was to introduce the first act, or ask us to turn off our mobile phones. Instead, we were launched into the first of Hamlet's monologues that had us in raucous laughter one minute and devastating self-awareness the next.
Hamlet, Mark Wilson, and Horatio, Marcus McKenzie.
The man was, of course, the writer and director behind Anti-Hamlet, Mark Wilson, who expertly pulls Shakespeare's classic into a modern critique of consumerism, colonialism and just about every 'ism' in between. As the collapse of the Danish monarchy looms near, Hamlet attempts to forge himself an identity less rooted in indulgent self-pity and serial procrasturbating (procrastination masturbation—if you hadn't already guessed) and more in artistic expression.
With the help of the father of psychoanalysis, played by Brian Lipson, Hamlet explores his dreams and desires and surprises the audience at every turn with a momentum that has no intention of slowing down. Natasha Herbert delivers Gertrude with Freudian sensuality and Claudius, portrayed by Marco Chiappi, embodies a power-hungry politician with lascivious deviancy.
Ophelia, Natascha Flowers, grounds the performance with a pragmatism that reminds the audience of the wildness of the other characters until her own unhinging, and contrasts with the smooth-talking, walking-suit, Edward Bernaise, played by Charles Purcell.
I somehow managed to miss the content warnings plastered around the theatre and was glad I did—given the shock of a lifetime I can confirm this is not one for the kids. Hilariously outrageous and brazenly unapologetic Anti-Hamlet is not one to be missed.