In Hamlet (Solo), Raoul Bhaneja uses the most minimalist of approaches---an empty stage, fixed lighting and head-to-toe black clothing---to bare the soul of the Bard's best-known tragedy. From the first moments when bitter winds whip the ramparts of the Danish castle (winds provided by Bhaneja and ramparts provided by imagination), to the closing "sweet prince" speech, the play engages on many levels. The 17 characters are all amazingly distinct, but Bhaneja needs only subtle body, voice and facial changes to differentiate them. His Hamlet is very human and relatable, his Ophelia heartbreakingly sweet and shattered and his Polonius makes the audience laugh out loud with his rambling speeches and clueless self-importance. "Tour de force" may be an over-used theatre cliche, but I can't think of a better way to describe this enlightening, entertaining one-man show.
To October 21, Neptune Studio Theatre, 1593 Argyle Street, 429-7070