The Case of the Prince Formerly Known as Hamlet

How do you make shakespearean tragedy better? Have it performed on stage rather than read the play. How do you make it funny? By adding a hard-boiled detective element to the play. Of course, based on the title of this review, the shakespearean tragedy in question is Hamlet. This audio drama is both a “what if” parody as well as a secret (fictional) history.

Enter the main character, Justin Thyme: A detective who investigates crimes in fictional stories. And what better story than Hamlet to parody. We all know the story, Hamlet’s father is murdered by his brother. What we don’t know is that Detective Thyme was hired by the late King of Denmark

The first part is mostly set up for information most people already know. There are however a few differences, like how involved Thyme was in the ending of Hamlet. Spoiler alert: everyone dies. Everything from the jokes (some of which get a naughty) to the hard-boiled similes offered by the detective are wonderful and don’t disrespect the play. Rather they add a level of enjoyment to it.

The second part is much more proactive and follows the book more closely after the initial detour from the original story. It’s always fun to make fun of a person’s indecision and Hamlet is the king of it. The “to be or not to be” speech being a prime example of his indecisiveness.

All in all, this comedic audio drama is both fun and enjoyable. The writer even twisted the ending, adding a layer of complexity not found in the original play. Again this doesn’t distract from the story or disrespect it in anyway. It enhances the enjoyment of this story — undoubtedly, is different from the play — but by no means inferior.

4.5/5 Stars

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