The Hamlet Challenge Entry no 3: Curb Your Enthusiasm

Larry David as Max Bialystock in the fictional production of The Producers

Entry no 3 in the Hamlet challenge comes from an unlikely place if there is such a thing: the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm. In the episode Opening Night, Larry David goes to New York to start performances as Max Bialystock in the musical The Producers. In the first scene of the Producers, Max Bialystock has just opened Funny Boy!, a musical version of Hamlet, the show is panned by the critics and it is closing just as it has opened. Max Bialystock laments his past glories as a legendary Broadway producer.

The real deal: David Tennant and Penny Downie in Hamlet, RSC 2008. Photograph Ellie Kurtz


The entry might not be profound, but its meta implications are delicious: a real person (in a fictional version of himself) plays a part in a real play (if not a real production) whose plot involves a fictional musical version of Hamlet. Which is a real play. The question remains (and it’s not “To be or not to be”): Is Larry David’s performance real or fictional? And although Funny Boy! is not a real musical, Hamlet the musical exists.

For the first entry and explanation to the Hamlet challenge visit the Hamlet Challenge Entry No 1:  Tis Pity She’s a Whore by Cheek by Jowl.

Posh at the Duke of York’s theatre – Review

Posh, written by Laura Wade and directed by Lindsey Turner, was one of my theatre highlights in 2010. It tells the story of ten overprivileged young men spending one evening in the  private dining room of an Oxford pub, where they try to capture past glories of wild nights and map their future (which, they see, as the future of the country). Things don’t go according to plan. Or do they? Having seen the original production at the Royal Court twice, I have good news to report: the production, now transferred to the Duke of York’s, has not lost its spirit or its freshness. Continue reading