Crowds started small on the foggy, chilly Labor Day weekend as the Half Moon Bay Shakespeare Company brought “The Tragedy of Hamlet” to life in the Cameron’s Inn outback.
But they picked up last weekend, and hopefully will peak this upcoming closing weekend, since this production deserves it.
Robert Pickett’s strong, fluid direction allows actors to round out their roles. Collin Wenzell as the endlessly cogitating, doleful Prince of Denmark captures the universality of loss, nicely counterbalanced in the similar emotional situation of Laertes, passionately played by Patrick Leo Bradley.
Vengeance, madness and loss cycle with growing urgency. Julia Thollaug caps her fragile, innocent Ophelia with a beautifully powerful mad scene. The interaction of Hamlet and Ophelia, first tender and then heartless (him) and bewildered (her) is flawless.
Doug Mallon and Bobbi J. Figone nail the murderous Claudius and troubled Gertrude by revealing the torment in their royal façade.
Justin Chao turns in a solid if slightly stiff Horatio. Paul Smith shines as the garrulous Polonius and with a hilarious turn as a gravedigger. Jack Weintraub haunts onstage as the Ghost, while Beau Brown gives him magnificent voice.
Johnny Villar and Jaap Tuinman solidly capture Rosencrantz and Guildenstern with humor and glimpses of the times. The Players are suitably surreal and the final battle with rapiers is gripping. David Abad’s Fortinbras wraps the play in a nicely balanced way.
“Hamlet” will run at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 13 and 14, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15. Tickets are $20/general, $15/students and seniors, plus one nonperishable food item to benefit Coastside Hope. For information, see www.hmbshakespeare.org.
Blankets against the foggy chill might come in handy for evening performances, but overall, this play’s the thing wherein you’ll catch the essence of the Bard.