Hamlet in Bed Reviews

“Deadpan and sexy, Laurence gets a startling amount of mileage out of the premise thanks to the show's off-kilter style and the electrifying Annette O’Toole. O'Toole channels multiple archetypes of womanhood at the same time: mother, old maid, whore, seductress and victim. For her, the rest isn't silence, it's a primal scream.”

Hamlet in Bed is a genre-defying work...it’s lovely to watch Laurence and O’Toole sink their teeth into the compelling characters he has created. Laurence is a man on the verge of an emotional explosion...his forceful personality turns him into a hand grenade with a pulled pin.
Theater Mania

“...Suspenseful...strong performances...An intriguing psychodrama... Annette O’Toole and Mr. Laurence bring heat to their performances... Mr. Laurence brings an aging-rock-star glamour to the role.
-Charles Isherwood,
The New York Times

“..infused with film noir-style bleakness...provocative ...intense...sexy...an engrossing combination of sassy bravado and emotional vulnerability.”
The Hollywood Reporter

“...The conceit is brilliant and the execution by the actors under Lisa Peterson’s direction is equally brilliant and equally engaging...[a] matrix of mental gymnastics. This is a complicated and deeply rich script that lingers with the audience long after the curtain call.”

“...visceral and unpredictable...Intensely staged...”

...poetic. Lisa Peterson’s staging is aptly shadowy. Laurence does morose and angst like nobody’s business. O’Toole is gritty and touching.”
New York Daily News

“...a wonderfully bleak and tense production...striking visuals and terrific acting...Laurence’s performance strikes the right sinister and sexy chordsBroadway World

Terrific characterization...expertly walks the line between endearing yet terrifying...a piece as intricate and stylized as this should not be missed.” –Center on the Aisle

“...a highly theatrical noir ...[a] terrifically rich scenario...Laurence knows his way around his own brand of taut, conflicted lyricism and uses his rich, deeply melodious voice to terrific effect...O’Toole makes Anna a riveting urban feral creature...it’s her delivery of Laurence’s text that captivates and entrances...Laurence’s writing, assured and provocative throughout, leaves the characters and theatergoers with a marvelous hanging question mark about who these people are.”
American Theater Web

Haunting... a mixture of relevatory monologues and confrontational scenes

“...Hamlet in Bed is clever and creepy, and Laurence makes a charismatic nutjob.”
New York Magazine/ Vulture

“...engrossing... Laurence and O’Toole keep their non-Shakespearean naturalism seething even during their Bardic encounters”
The Broadway Blog

“...compelling and gripping...Laurence and O’Toole are a pleasure to watch.”
This Week in New York

“Laurence calls to mind a younger Bill Nighy,....O’Toole is truly fearless...oodles of fun to watch.”
NBC New York

“Hamlet in Bed is an acting tour de force.”
- Theaterscene

“Laurence’s writing dovetails nicely with the Bard’s, and always respectfully. He’s funny, self-aware and likeable both on the page and on the stage. O’Toole is magnificent. It’s a remarkably in-depth study of the complicated dynamic between mother and son.”
- Theaterpizzazz



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Press and Review Quotes for Krapp, 39 New York 2009 & London 2010

Nominated for 2009 Drama Desk Award (“Outstanding Solo Performance”) Winner: NY International Fringe Festival 2008 (“Outstanding Solo Show”)

Nominated for 2010 Best Off-West End London (“Best Actor”)

”Mr. Laurence gives a superb performance in a beautifully shaped, beautifully revealed work. Tremendously poignant, Krapp, 39 has a sort of intoxicating fatalism, considerable humor and itʼs an even funnier, more enlightening experience the second time around.”- New York Times, Criticʼs Pick

“Well-written and expertly performed. Laurence creates a funny and lacerating self- portrait that earns its affiliation with the classic that inspired it.”- The New Yorker

“Award-winning in its native New York, Laurence's show has something of the great Tim Crouch about it, in that it occupies a provoking limbo between performance and truth. Laurence's leonine self-absorption - to which his character readily admits, is strongest when most particular. In an inversion Beckett would enjoy, a bleak play of old age now offers hope to disappointed youth.” - TimeOut London 4 STARS Criticʼs Pick

Krapp, 39 is a moving and wise 70-minute retrospective of a man's soul: an homage to the self that somehow doesn't feel selfish.”- TimeOut New York Criticʼs Pick

"Affecting...utterly unsparing...a funny and pitiless self-portrait. Krapp, 39 is a complete surprise -- and thus, hilarious. It's the same impulse that propelled Beckett's bleak play, and like his spiritual ancestor, Laurence has produced a priceless artifact." -Variety

“Beckett's 1958 masterpiece is such a timeless meditation on existence and ageing that it's hard to imagine anyone capturing its nuances. Happily, Krapp, 39, "an autobiographical documentary theatre piece" by the captivating American actor Michael Laurence, is an excellent attempt. The result is a poignant and often hilarious study of a Hornbyesque thirtysomething bloke.”- The Observer, London 4 Stars

Krapp, 39, is brilliant. The play is heartbreaking, hilarious, and enormously relevant. Laurence is magnificent. The performance, like the script, is carefully layered and constantly surprising. It's a rich, ripe stimulating work that's as rewarding to ponder afterward as it is to experience.”- nytheatre.com

Krapp, 39 is no mere Beckett riff— itʼs a thoughtful response, a valuable contribution... a thing of startling, wounding beauty.”- The Village Voice

”It takes nerve to mine the same territory as Samuel Beckett, but Michael Laurence pulls it off. A darkly funny portrait of a man struggling with issues both personal and professional, Krapp,39 is far more than a mere homage, it is a moving and funny examination of the loss of youth.”- New York Post

”A rather grand tribute to Beckett's characters, Krapp, 39 is a rich and brutally honest examination of a life at mid-point, both dramatic and humorous. Eloquent and compelling, beautifully poetic.”- Theatermania

“Hilarious and devastating, uplifting and sobering. Krapp, 39 is required viewing if you are a Beckett aficionado, or approaching your own mid-life crisis. Itʼs a great piece of theater.”- Flavorpill

“A skull with a cigarette between its clenched teeth neatly encapsulates this rather brilliant comic meditation on life, underachievement and the fact we are all edging closer to death. Krapp is inspired and haunted somewhat by Samuel Beckettʼs Krappʼs Last Tape. But this is no mere parody and the warmth and self-deprecating humour which Laurence brings to the role makes us root for his character and situation, and lets us fervently hope that he is in far better shape than old Krapp in 30 yearsʼ time.This is a technically accomplished piece...entertaining, with a poignant script that is resplendent with lines such as: “A life of days flipped away like quarters at an arcade.”- The Stage, London 4 Stars

“Light but meaningful, referential but original, philosophical but personal, entertaining and thought-provoking, Krapp, 39 is, quite simply an exceptional piece of theatre. And thatʼs due to the extreme warmth, depth, and humour of Michael Laurenceʼs performance; beautifully, through the act of performance, his play about loneliness resulted in the creation of a community – at least for 90 minutes that night in the Tristan Bates Theatre.” -ayoungertheatre.com (London)

“Michael Laurence's play, which was nominated for a Drama Desk Award and won Best Solo Performance at the 2008 Fringe Festival, is a work of brave and vulnerable beauty. That Laurence somehow coaxes the audience to care about and even identify with a floundering New York theater actor speaks volumes about his warmth and charm...well- paced, speckled with self-deprecating humor...transporting.” - gothamist.com

“No crude adaptation of Beckettʼs monologue...” Laurence is a compelling performer. This is not the wildly self-indulgent piece it had the potential to be, but an intriguing and often sardonic, self-deprecatory exploration of manʼs attempt to deal with isolation and rejection.” -whatsonstage.com (London)

“This autobiographical theatrical masterpiece is definitely worth seeing.” -londonfestivalfringe.com (London)