By ROGER SMITH - For the Star Beacon
ASHTABULA — If you have the rain doldrums and you are tired of seeing the faces of accusatory politicians flashing across your screen, a good way to escape for a couple of hours of fun is to buy a ticket to see the GB Community Theatre’s production of “I Hate Hamlet” on the stage of the Ashtabula Arts Center.
Tom Milligan, in the role of the back-from-the-dead consummate Hamlet, John Barrymore, gave a performance that even the Bard would be pleased with. Milligan’s recipe for this successful portrayal included a wry wit, facial expressions and nods that spoke volumes, and line delivery that always made his point in spades.
The modern Hamlet (Andrew Rally) around whom the plot revolved was acted by Adam Shimko. Those who remember some of his previous roles at the arts center will be pleased to know that his talent still entertains all those within earshot. Shimko carried off his conversations with the visible and invisible John Barrymore to the delight of the audience.
Jackie Freeman, recently on stage in New Orleans and on her way to the Big Apple, is a local lady with stage presence that many actors would covet. Her experience during her 5-year absence from the AAC stage has certainly help to mold what seems to be a promising acting career. Freeman’s female love interest, Deidre, was convincing.
The role of Lillian Troy, theatrical agent, was played by Linda Fundis. Seldom does Fundis step onto a stage without assuming control of everything around her. Experience and the love of being on the stage will do that for such a well-rounded actor.
Susan Laupp as Geri Lefkowitz, the somewhat demanding television agent for Andrew Rally, was flighty and devil-may-care after realizing that her client had been seriously bitten by the legitimate theater bug — and she had experienced a bite of her own.
Rounding out the cast for this highly entertaining comedy is Kimberly Carabotta as Felicia Dantine, the rental agent saddled with the task of renting John Barrymore’s apartment to the budding Shakespeare actor. She looked the part of her character, and most of the time came across with a New Yawk accent.
This show is well worth seeing, for it offers a touch of fictional history and a barrelful of laughs. It continues tonight and Saturday night at 8 and Sunday at 2 p.m.. Next Friday and Saturday the curtain will go up at 8 p.m. Tickets may be purchased by phoning the Ashtabula Arts Center at 964-3396.