Review: ‘Hamlet’ at Sacramento Theatre Company


“Hamlet’s a little hard to pull off, but we’re doing pretty good, right, Yorick?”

“Hamlet’s a little hard to pull off, but we’re doing pretty good, right, Yorick?”

Photo courtesy of Charr Crail

Wed 7pm, Thu 7pm, Fri 8pm, Sat 2pm & 8pm, Sun 2pm; Through 3/22; $25-$40; Sacramento Theatre Company, 1419 H St., (916) 443-6722,
Rated 5.0

Shakespeare’s Hamlet is an exceedingly ambitious choice of play to put on. Unedited, a production can easily stretch longer than three hours, and the play’s success lives or dies on the skill of the actor playing the titular character. Every performer must deliver their lines of centuries-old dialogue with such clear intent and emotion that even a Shakespeare neophyte would find them not only understandable, but compelling.

Such pitfalls, and numerous more, make even the decision to attempt Hamlet one that should be commended. Sacramento Theatre Company's production is deserving of the highest praise, as it avoids each pitfall expertly.

The play begins with an absolute spectacle. The ghost scenes, played out in pitch black—lit only by the character's flashlights as the king's spectre magically moves from place to place—are truly incredible. The minimalist set is elegant in its simplicity and versatility, with changes achieved through just the movement of scrims hanging from the ceiling.

The costumes are fantastic—modern and simple while bearing elements that hearken to more traditional garb. The script is masterfully pared down to a comfortable two hours and 20 minutes run time, without feeling like any depth or detail was lost in the process. Every single actor in the play does a superb job, with Ian Hopps' standout performance as Hamlet being particularly noteworthy.

If you only see one play this month, perhaps even this year, this play's the thing.