It may sound surprising to you, but the highlight of my day today was NOT picking up the first season box set of THE SWEENEY (tho you’d be forgiven for thinking that). That was a close second, but first was by far and away catching opening night of HAMLET (solo) at the GCTC. Set up on a special 3-day run as a benefit for the Shannon Reynolds memorial fund, it’s a show that must be seen to be believed. In fact, let’s shorten that a bit…it’s a show that must be seen.
Starring the bafflingly good Raoul Bhaneja as, as the title implies, every damn character in Shakespeare’s HAMLET from beginning to end, without the benefit of lighting effects, set, costume changes or props…just himself and his giddy talent alone on a bare stage for 2 hours, plus intermission. Raoul moves flawlessly from character to character, scene to scene, ignoring numerous theatrical conventions along the way to everyone’s delight. He seems especially good at bringing out the rich, ribald humour peppered throughout even the darkest of Zombie Bill’s works. But his dramatics are equally good…he commands attention with nothing more than a lingering breath. Basically, he’s a magnificent bloody bastard and he’s what I want to be when I grow up.
There was a great turnout for opening night…I did lots of peep-spotting in the crowd. Nadine Thornhill two nights in a row? I am charmed. And hey, Winston’s Mom was there, yay! Wayne C, Sterling Lynch, tweedy old Snowdon…but my fav’rit was when I met up with my acting prof Barry Karp. Raoul had been a student of his once upon a time, and I could see the proud twinkle in his eye. He told me to keep on practicing my movements at home, and believe me, coach, I will. nothing like inspiration, hey?
As for the rest of you, get to work. Cancel those plans, bribe some babysitters, see your loan shark, do what you’ve got to DO…you have two more shows, Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm…get thee to the GCTC, and catch this brilliant slice of one-man awesomeness. It’s what theatre is all about. Peace,
the Visitor (and Winston)
PS: Third runner-up for highlight of the day? Drinking quarts of 50 and reading TUROK SON OF STONE and MAGNUS ROBOT FIGHTER comix at the Carleton Tavern before the show. Life, sometimes, is sweet.