Tarell Alvin McCraney's condensed edit of Shakespeare's masterpiece Hamlet received its share of respectful criticism, namely that its 85-minute reduction didn't capture all the nuance and brilliance of the unabridged text. Fair enough, and it's also fair to say that some characters, such as Polonius and Gertrude, arguably received short shrift, failing to emotionally register on the level they should have. Which is why Ryan George's performances stand out as much as they do: Even in this self-described "action movie" version of Hamlet, George generated a commanding presence, crafting two contradictory characters in multiple dimensions. As Laertes, he was a steely-eyed, smoldering presence whose deep wounds resonated at a deliberate pace in an otherwise speedy framework. As Rosencrantz, he enjoyed some lithe slapstick and commedia dell'arte-style improv with partner Arielle Hoffman as Guildenstern. George conveyed both tragedy and comedy, channeling both sides of Shakespeare's — and McCraney's — gifts.

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Coral Gables FL 33134


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