Big ideas

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

<i>Rosencrantz &amp; Guildenstern Are Dead</i>: Don’t hate the Player …

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead: Don’t hate the Player …

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Big Idea Theatre

1616 Del Paso Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95815

(916) 390-9485

postmaster@bigideatheatre.com

Rated 5.0

It’s a very good sign when the first word out of one’s mouth as the house lights come up is “wow.”

Big Idea Theatre earns that response with their incredibly fast-paced and wit-bending production of Tom Stoppard’s play, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, directed by Kirk Blackinton.

The two minor characters from Hamlet take center stage in Stoppard’s sequel, which is not really a sequel so much as an absurdist hijacking of Shakespeare’s masterpiece driven at breakneck speed while examining the tension between certainty and fate. Rosencrantz (Jeffrey Lloyd Heatherly) and Guildenstern (Kristine David) are a delightful Mutt and Jeff pairing, well able to play off each other’s confusion, fear and bluster. Their attempts to reason their way out of the conundrum of Hamlet’s plot are, by turns, hilarious and heart-rending.

They are assisted by the incredible Kelley Ogden (as the Player—leader of the theatrical troupe) and the outrageous Benjamin T. Ismail (Hamlet). These two ratchet both the tension and the absurdity up a couple of notches every time they take the stage.

With an excellent supporting cast (Deborah Forester, P. Joshua Laskey, Leo McElroy, Carissa Meagher and John Kerr), Big Idea’s players fully embrace some mighty big ideas.