Watchable Concoctions

Reviews of Medieval Farces and High School Hamlet by Nur L.


A lighthearted romp that seemed to channel Monty Python, Medieval Farces was an Olde English Pleasure. The play featured three skits, set up by thesps playing thesps dying to put up their productions at a theater with a very anxious house manager. The skits, “The Very Good and Extremely Merry Joke of the Washtub,” “The Second Tale of the Shepherd,” and “The Troublesome Olive,” were performed by very skilled upcoming youth actors and highlighted their adeptness at physical comedy and perfect comedic timing.

As the play begins, the house manager is very hesitant to allow this seemingly troublesome troupe perform at his theater. Soon, however, the persuasive actors finally manage to sway him; he allows each skit until finally, in Olive, he joins in the fun.

Farces, a part of the Seattle Drama School productions, was composed entirely of exceptional young actors who worked tirelessly over the summer to put up the play. While the actors were clearly enjoying themselves in the breezy comedy—which, really, can never a bad thing—the audience, too, was in stitches as the three shepherds searched high and low for a sheep disguised as a new born baby in “Shepherd,” and as family members paraded around the room arguing about a not-yet-existent olive tree in “Olive.”

Every moment of the play seemed to up the laughs as the actors frolicked around the stage, decked up in medieval costumes. It was a phenomenal display of their physical comedy skills and their knack for comedic timing. I’m sure we’ll see these promising young actors going on to do great things in the very near future.


“To be or not to be, that is the question,” Prompts self-appointed director Claudia. “I think you mean that is the line.” Quips an aspiring Hamlet actor. Thus begins one of the opening scenes of The Seattle Children’s Theater’s production of High School Hamlet. The premise seemed to guarantee an instant success, featuring a flavoring from Disney’s cult phenomenon High School Musical and a dash of what is arguably Shakespeare’s greatest work, Hamlet. The play did not disappoint. The perfect blend of Hamlet’s gravity, and High School Musical’s brevity created a truly delectable and extremely watchable concoction.

A high school production of Hamlet is underway when, suddenly, the then director Helen disappears to parts unknown. Enter Claudia, Helen’s “best-friend” who takes over the post and determines that a re-casting is in order.

Then, by way of an apparition, an almost ghost-like Helen appears and informs her sister Haley, who was to play Hamlet in Helen’s version of the production, of the wrongs Claudia has done by her. Claudia, it seems, has stolen Helen’s boyfriend and gotten her suspended from school. It’s up to Haley now to get Claudia to confess. The play reads like a real-life Hamlet story as Haley must pretend her sanity is in question in her quest to catch Claudia. All the while, a lovelorn Zack frequents the stage, warbling some of High School Musical's popular songs in a hilariously off-pitched fashion.

High School Hamlet was a true enjoyment to watch. The actors were extremely talented and played off their roles seamlessly. And, this production one-upped Shakespeare’s Hamlet: It had a happy ending.

- Nur L.
August 9th, 2008

Medieval Farces and High School Hamlet are closed, but you can still catch the last show in SCT's Summer Season:

Urinetown, The Musical | August 15th - 23rd

Did you see one of these shows? Leave a comment and tell everybody what you thought!
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