Frequently Asked Questions
It may not be possible to appreciate how fine an actor is until you see him play various disparate roles interacting with each other.
In this one-man show, Hurst has the audience in stitches with the humorous shock of the meetings of various Shakespearean worlds in the one pokey flat, of the totally true-to-the-Bard lines they deliver to each other in a modern setting, and of the violence they casually inflict on each other, knowing as they do that all the world's a stage and they're merely players on it.
The beautifully self-referential lines, which Hurst himself contributed to, would be an entertainment merely to read. Hurst's delivery of them imbues characters that we generally keep somewhere in an ancient castle of the imagination with truth and punch, bringing them undeniably to life. The agony of Othello, the violent self-righteousness of Macbeth, the fragility of Lear, and through it all the surprises in Hamlet's character: to see his characters meet and contest the field is to witness a barely contained riot.
And I haven't even mentioned the fighting. The physical comedy of Hurst's characters engaging in vicious hand-to-hand fighting is as funny as it is amazing.
If you love Shakespeare's ability to bring home the truth, then you'll love this one-man show's ability to bring you face to face with it. But see the play simply to watch this most gifted actor switch effortlessly between completely unalike characters and make each one completely, hauntingly convincing.
John P. Harvey
Image: Michael Hurst, in Frequently Asked Questions. Photographer: Robert Catto.