You Killed Hamlet

Watching these mutant, foul-looking offspring who looked like they were conceived during a gang bang involving an alien from Bad Taste, the Michelin Man, Brundlefly and Susan Lowe stride down the hallway of the Exit Theatre complex before the show was disturbing enough. One grotesquely fat, the other sickeningly thin, they looked like human maggots more than anything else. The safest place to sit seemed to be toward the rear, but even that felt suspect, and my suspicions turned out to be true. The audience had an expectant air in it, no doubt fueled by provocative reviews posted on the SF Fringe site from the first show, and of course there's that title, an accusation leveled at anyone present.

They came in with his corpse, abusing it in the most offensive, base manner imaginable, even beyond what I could conjure up in my most venal revenge fantasies. Using their phalluses as weapons, they taunted the dead Danish Prince without mercy. Certainly I nor anyone in the audience had anything to do with this. Or did we?

Naked Empire Bouffon Company deliver the goods in unexpected ways in You Killed Hamlet, or Guilty Creatures Sitting At a Play. It's vile and provocative, but it's also a very sly, smart commentary on a culture busily amusing itself as it slides off this mortal coil, too afraid to talk about serious things, and too busy dumbing itself down. You Killed Hamlet, we all kill Hamlet, every time we click on that link to see what the latest false celebrity did to end up on what's called news, when we spend more time on Facebook than with a book, and when we accept the fact that we live in a culture where the words art and intellectual (and their synonyms) are combined into pejoratives. Natty Justiniano and Ross Travis know this, and aren't afraid to rub your face in your own complicity in this shitty state of affairs- but you probably don't want to talk about it.

Highly recommended. There are two more performances at the San Francisco Fringe Festival: Friday, September 14 at 7:00 PM and Sunday, September 16 at 4:30.