OMELETTO (Ombelico Mask Ensemble): 2016 Fringe review 77

Photo by Jenna Kuerzi.
Photo by Jenna Kuerzi.

“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;

3 Replies to “OMELETTO (Ombelico Mask Ensemble): 2016 Fringe review 77”
  1. Hello Christopher,
    Thank you for the kind words in this review. I do, however have an issue with you refering to Polonius as a “Woody Allenesque New York Jew.” That is not the intention with the portrayal of that character and we feel that it makes a poor impression of the show and the company. Our goal at Ombelico Mask Ensemble is to use the archetypes found in Commedia dell’Arte to expose the foibles and affectations that make humans lovable, laughable and ludicrous. We strive to be inclusive with our comedy so that all who come to see our shows can enjoy them. By giving a character an ethnic label you have moved that character from an archetype into a stereotype, which by nature makes the comedy exclusive, not inclusive. I hope that you will see our point on this and edit your review.

    Thank you,
    John Bellomo
    Director of Omeletto and actor of Polonius

    1. Yes. I read it as an intentional portrayal of exaggerated stereotype, but I can see how my characterization is problematic and undesirable. I have removed the unwarranted ethnic label.

      Thank you for an enjoyable performance and for holding the review to a standard.

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