REVIEW: Iago vs Hamlet

A battle of wits between two of Shakespeare’s arguably most overly researched characters.

By Jean-Paul Fournier

Accidentally double-booking the same rehearsal space for the same time, Hamlet—a deep-thinking prince often prone to rash and impulsive acts—encounters Iago, a deep-thinking soldier often prone to instigating rash and impulsive acts. And thus begins a hilarious battle of wits between two of Shakespeare’s arguably most overly researched, analyzed, and portrayed characters.

Jon Paterson as Iago and Rod Peter Jr. as Hamlet display enthusiastic chemistry, each bringing nuances to the well-known roles. The script, while honouring both plays, also joyously slips in multiple references to the Bard’s other works. The comedy is intelligent, goofy, and pokes fun at both personalities, from the literal text, as well as stage techniques, with both verbal combatants manipulating soliloquies, asides, and other theatrical trickery to their advantages. The enthusiastic oral and physical skirmish delivers plenty of laughs while setting up an outrageously funny and dementedly absurd comical climax.

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