Charles Askenaizer and Ebby Offord in Invictus Theatre's Hamlet Credit: Brian McConkey

Invictus Theatre’s intimate, bare-bones modern-dress staging of Hamlet is storefront Shakespeare at its best. The company’s stated aim is to “promote a better understanding . . . of heightened language . . . to express the breadth of the human condition,” and this dynamic, clearly spoken non-Equity production delivers. Director Charles Askenaizer guides the ensemble and the audience together on a shared journey through the play’s grim narrative, illuminating its philosophical, spiritual, and political themes and its darkly ironic humor as well as its suspenseful plot.

Hamlet
Through 11/21: Mon and Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 3 PM, Invictus Theatre, 1106 W. Thorndale, invictustheatreco.com, $30 ($25 students and seniors).

Askenaizer is electrifying as an anguished yet antic Hamlet whose tortured poetic soliloquies—delivered as expressionistic internal monologues under the relentless glare of a red-hot light—clarify the character’s painful path toward acceptance of his tragic fate. The macabre lighting and ominous sound design by Chad Lussier evoke an eerie atmosphere—appropriate to this Halloween season—for this ghost story about a haunted prince charged to avenge his father’s murder at the inevitable cost of his own life. Standouts among the solid supporting cast include Darren Jones as the speechifying counselor Polonius, Ebby Offord as his doomed daughter Ophelia, Jack Morsovillo and Andrea Uppling as a yuppiefied Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and Robert Koon in the small but telling role of the traveling actor who helps Hamlet expose the corruption of his family’s court.