Tim Nicholson is back ….and we’ve given him a sword!

Tim Nicholson is back on the stage and looking as dashing as ever, as he plays John Barrymore in the Highlands Summer Festival production of I Hate Hamlet.

The consummate actor, Nicholson captures the haughty but compassionate personality of the long-dead star of stage and screen, whose ghost return to convince the young actor Andrew Rally, played by Chris Mayo, that he must play the part of Hamlet in Central Park, New York City. Rally is naturally hesitant to take on the role that every actor covets, but also finds equally daunting. The two confront each other in a number of ways, including with swords resulting in a spectacular duel.

Maureen James (Mother Superior in Nunsense last season) plays Rally’s aging agent who is keen to see him take the role of Hamlet, and is also intrigued, recalling a long-ago tryst, by the presence of the Barrymore ghost.

Amy Leis, new to the Highlands Summer Festival stage, plays Rally’s girlfriend and hesitant lover. She is finally won over by the dashing suitor, or is it the charm of a man in tights that captures her heart?

Christine Jonas-Simpson (from last year’s Our Town) plays the real estate agent, Felicia Dantine, who introduces Rally to the apartment, once occupied by Barrymore, where many of his off-stage conquests took place.

And Tom Regina, seen earlier this season in Great Expectations and one of the company’s most versatile character actors, returns as Gary Peter Lefkowitz, Rally’s friend and business partner. He is in New York to convince the young actor that his future lies in TV sitcoms, not on a stage doing Shakespeare.

This tightly written, adult comedy is a delight to watch. Itr bristles with humour and pathos, the show is a fabulous way to bring the curtain down on another great Highlands Summer Festival season.

I Hate Hamlet runs July 28 to August 1 and August 5, 6 and 7 at 8 p.m. at the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion. Tickets at $29.50 are available by calling the box office at 7095-457-9933 or 1-855-457-9933 or order and select you tickets online at www.highlandssummerfestival.on.ca/tickets

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