Strong performances and production values drive Jewel Box's highly entertaining 'I Hate Hamlet' 

aturing well-drawn characters and still-apt observations about the nature of acting for the stage versus screen. The material is well-served by both the fine cast and longtime Jewel Box costumer Charlotte Rose, making a strong directorial debut here.

As the frustrated Andrew, Jared Blount starts off a little low-key surrounded by more strongly defined characters, but hits his stride after the appearance of Michael Cross as the ghost of Barrymore. Blount throws himself into the part with abandon, delivering some over-the-top comedy that's right on target.

Cross steals the show, reveling his ghostly role and just being a plain delight to watch. While many of Barrymore's real-life exploits get played for laughs, Cross makes sure to keep his part human. With tremendous charm and an irrepressible romanticism, it's impossible not to like him.

Jackie Smola is so good as Andrew's agent that my only complaint is that she doesn't have more to do. Sporting an excellent German accent, she lights up her scenes as easily she does the (fake) cigarette she constantly smokes.

Making their Jewel Box debuts, Tiffany Tuggle displays good comic timing and a sense of lower-class swagger as Andrew's well-meaning but slightly dense Realtor, and Emily Mitchell brings an impossibly adorable na

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