Oscar Isaac and Roberta Colindrez. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
The reviews are in for Sam Gold’s sparse, divisive production at The Public, starring Oscar Isaac as the brooding Danish prince.
Presented by The Public Theater
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Sam Gold
Oscar Isaac, Roberta Colindrez, Ritchie Coster, Peter Friedman, Keegan-Michael Key, Gayle Rankin, Matthew Saldívar, Charlayne Woodard, Anatol Yusef
Playing through September 3, 2017
Ben Brantley – New York Times
Who’s afraid of “Hamlet”? Certainly not the director Sam Gold, whose gloriously involving new production at the Public Theater treats Shakespeare’s daunting tragedy with an easy, jokey familiarity that’s usually reserved for siblings and longtime drinking buddies.
Marilyn Stasio – Variety
Oscar Isaac’s Hamlet is to die for, but director Sam Gold’s bizarre “Hamlet” is to shoot on sight. Shakespeare has always been an accommodating chap; whatever interpretative indignities directors have inflicted on him over the years, he survives and often grows from the experience. This is not the case with Gold’s hammy production at the Public Theater, which is as pointless as it is solipsistic.
David Rooney – The Hollywood Reporter
Let’s get the banner news out of the way up front: Oscar Isaac is a sensational Hamlet. Whether communing with the ghost of his murdered father, aghast at the treachery of his uncle and the fickle allegiance of his mother, or bounding about in his underwear feigning insanity while plotting his revenge, he inhabits the role like a fever — bristling with raw emotion, anxious energy and mercurial intelligence. That his performance registers so effectively is an additional credit to Isaac, given how many obstacles director Sam Gold throws in his way in a gimmicky modern-dress production that often seems more WTF-perverse than audacious.
Jeremy Gerard – Deadline
Thoughtful, self-possessed and charismatically morose, Oscar Isaac inhabits Shakespeare’s melancholy prince as naturally as the sweater he wraps himself in. This youthful Hamlet is most compelling during soliloquies as familiar to us as speech itself, delivered in the hushed cadence of prayers seeking grace, and perhaps deliverance out of the nightmare that has brought him home to Elsinore from college to see his mother marry the uncle who’s murdered his revenge-demanding father.
Robert Kahn – NBC New York
Like his “Menagerie,” Gold’s bare bones “Hamlet” is likely to be divisive among audience members, who will require stamina and, possibly, their own wardrobe changes. (Aside from the flying food, temperature in the theater seemed to vary significantly throughout the night, to the point where I wonder if it was intentional.)
Leah Greenblatt- Entertainment Weekly
The club’s newest member is no stranger to Shakespeare, or to the Public: A star of films both arty (Ex Machina, Inside Llewyn Davis, A Most Violent Year) and colon-y (X-Men: Apocalypse, Star Wars: The Force Awakens), Oscar Isaac made his stage debut as Proteus in Two Gentlemen of Verona in 2005, and graduated to Romeo (alongside Lauren Ambrose’s Juliet) two years later. Here he falls under the direction of Tony winner Sam Gold (Fun Home) in an audacious, highly stylized production that is technically faithful to the text, but flouts tradition in almost every other respect. (Gold’s reputation as a strident modernizer precedes him; he’s the same man who lashed an indoor rainstorm on The Glass Menagerie at New York’s Belasco Theatre in March, and had a cargo-pantsed Daniel Craig dance to Drake in his stripped-down Othello at the New York Theatre Workshop last winter.)
Matt Windman – AM New York
Playing the Danish prince is Oscar Isaac, who jump-started his career with starring roles in Shakespeare in the Park productions and has since earned international recognition with the films “Inside Llewyn Davis” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Isaac makes for a handsome and lyrical Hamlet, smoothly shifting from quiet introspection to manic eruption.
Alexis Soloski – The Guardian
Here, Hamlet’s too sullied flesh is provided by Oscar Isaac, who plays several scenes without the benefit of trousers. Isaac has a slow-burn smolder and a confident clarity with the verse, which fits with someone who first cut his teeth on the stage before becoming a bonafide screen star. His Hamlet is angry, sardonic and has a snarling disgust for court hypocrisy that’s made even more potent because of the capsizing grief he has over his father’s death. But he is also very funny, with the kind of gallows humor that subverts trauma with hilarity, which may explain why he jumps on tables and horses around with Horatio and harasses Polonius.
Jonathan Mandell – New York Theater
As you might have heard, Oscar Isaac walks around in his underpants in the Public Theater production of “Hamlet.” But the most startling visual occurs much later. There’s a sudden, striking and initially mystifying shift more than three hours into the show, when Sam Gold, its aggressively inventive director, seems to have turned Shakespeare’s tragedy into performance art.
Joe Dziemianowicz- NY Daily News
What makes the production at the Public Theater through Sept. 3 such a long sit is that beyond strong work by Isaac and others in the cast, there’s so little takeaway in this staging by in-demand director Sam Gold.