Hating Hamlet

The plot: straight out of the undiscovered country, from whose bourn no traveler returns, comes the ghost of John Barrymore, in tights, to coach young Andrew Rally (star of network television’s LA Medical and the Trailburst Nuggets commercial) as Hamlet. When Paul Rudnick’s I Hate Hamlet played Broadway last year, Nicol Williamson’s outrageous Barrymore kept his colleagues guessing from night to night what liberties he would take this time. Sometimes, bored, he would wander off. Sometimes, contemptuously, he would ad lib. On at least one occasion, the newspapers reported violence. What his performance may have lacked in professional courtesy, it made up in swagger. It was much, much larger than life—exactly the right size. The title of the merry farce may look rude this month on the posters for the high-toned Alabama Shakespeare Festival, in Montgomery, but who knows better the place of over-the-top histrionics than a true Shakespearean? (Through December 13, 800-841-4273.)