Camden Fringe 2018: Super Hamlet 64 at the Cockpit Theatre
Writer, actor and theatre producer Edward “Edalia” Day’s adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a show filled with references from every video game lover’s past, yet still keeps true to the essence of the bard’s play.
Condensed and fast-paced, Day presents a piece that is both thrillingly funny and highly inventive. It is surprising that two such disparate forms would go hand in hand together, but the ingenious use of video games brings out Hamlet’s characteristics to the fore; the existential prince worries over avenging his father, who is symbolised by the character of Mario from Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. Furthermore, the protagonist’s murdering uncle is depicted by Luigi, Mario’s brother, and Queen Gertrude by Peach. The performer’s smart selection of these virtual characters illustrates the protagonist with humour and a novel interpretation.
Day is dressed modestly in orange coloured trousers and faded top. Strapped to the belt hoops of his trousers is a Nintendo Wii controller, which the actor uses to magically conjure video animations. Bounding from one side of the stage to the other, Day utilises the space well, falling to the floor in dramatic death feints while being chased by zombies or crashing in a stolen car from Grand Theft Auto. His mannerisms convey humour but also a poignant sadness, in which he expresses Hamlet’s indecision and fears while remaining cautious not to make the production too melancholic, using witty poeticisms and wordy jokes.
Day engages the audience in gaming culture in several ways: Hamlet unlocks different levels by delivering his knowledge of similes, metaphors, alliteration, assonance and the many grammatical tools of the English language – at one point the computer exclaims, “your speech skill is too low for this soliloquy.”
It is rare to come across fringe productions that have not only been constructed well, but are smart and witty to boot. Day gives it his all and his exuberance is infectious. The show incorporates a wide range of retro and current games like Super Mario Bros., Zelda, Bioshock, Street Fighter, Crash Bandicoot and Sonic the Hedgehog, testimony to his thorough gaming and Shakespearean research. A nostalgic trip down memory lane, Super Hamlet 64 is an unforgettable gem.
Photo: Andy Byrne
Camden Fringe 2018: Super Hamlet 64 is at the Cockpit Theatre from 17th August until 18th August 2018. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.
Watch the trailer for Super Hamlet 64 here: