OMELETTO (Ombelico Mask Ensemble): 2016 Fringe review 77

Photo by Jenna Kuerzi. instagram.com/lessthanamuffin.

Photo by Jenna Kuerzi. instagram.com/lessthanamuffin.

“Who am I, my life is such a mess. I don’t know what to do,” says Hamlet, er, Omeletto (Enric Ortuño), in one of Shakespeare’s lesser-known lines. This is OMELETTO: LIKE HAMLET, ONLY SCRAMBLED, a family-friendly outdoors Fringe show by Ombelico Mask Ensemble. It’s “like Hamlet“, with all the key plot points, “only scrambled” in a light-hearted Commedia dell’arte of masks, jokes, music, and puppets.

Shakespeare’s language remains only in soliloquies delivered in the native tongue of international performers: Spanish, French, Hebrew. The jokes are kid-friendly (the father’s ghost [Brendan Gawel]: “I came from the Underworld” “where is it” “under there” “under where” “I made you say underwear”) and the dialog is easy to follow (changes are sometimes jarring: “the play’s the thing wherein i’ll catch the conscience of the king” becomes “the play will be the trap where I’ll catch the king”), but Shakespeare’s story remains. Even while laughing to silly lyrics (“Ofelia… just wanna feel ya”) we appreciate the compelling narrative. The best moment is an interpolation: Polonius (John Bellomo, who also directs) as a Woody Allenesque worrier as he’s led to the underworld (“Is it cold there?… Should I get my sweater”). Kids loved it; adult picnickers too.

[Liberty Lands Park, 926 N American Street] September 15-24, 2016; fringearts.com/omeletto-like-hamlet-scrambled.

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About the author

Christopher Munden

Your faithful correspondent and publisher Christopher Munden has written and edited for many publications, websites, and cultural institutions. He was an editor/publisher of the Philly Fiction book series, collections of short stories written by local writers and set in Philadelphia. He's also a soccer coach and a pretty good skier.