Most excellent, dude!
Reeves draws raves for opening night Hamlet performance.
by Bud Robertson and Brad Oswald
Keanu Reeves' most excellent adventure as Hamlet left opening night theatregoers thrilled with his performance as a serious Shakespearean actor.
And it gave Winnipeg a midwinter glimpse of opening night glamor as international vistors and Manitoba notables and unknowns jammed in the sold out MTC.
"He's absolutely amazing," beamed Winnipegger Anne Viegas as she and her brother Mario joined the crowd during last night's first intermission.
"I wasn't sure at first what to expect," she said adding she was waiting for Reeves to blurt out 'dude' somewhere along the first act (there was an excellent in there somewhere).
Instead, said Viegas, what she got was a fine performance by Reeves and others actors.
"It's wonderful," she said.
Reeves' most dedicated fans might have been Yuka Yoshimura 27, and Mariko Kawabe, 26. They made the arduous Toyko-New York-Ottawa-Winnipeg journey last weekend.
"We just wanted to see Keanu Reeves. We're big fans of him," said Yoshimura, a flight attendant from Tokyo who will see two more performances in the next week.
The pair said the premier was the second thrill of their trip, having met Reeves Wednesday evening outside MTC.
"We told him we came from Tokyo to see this show," Yoshimura said, "and he said, 'Oh, you're crazy.'"
Mayor Susan Thompson was among the first of several local dignitaries to arrive, accompanied by 16 year old god daughter (and huge Reeves fan) Joan Carson.
"It's wonderful that this is happening in Winnipeg," said Thompson,"I really do wish him all the best."
"I was quite impressed," said Denise Lecuyer, also from Winnipeg. "I don't know quite what to think of him (Reeves as a film actor.)
The 30 year old heart throb spent six weeks rehearsing his lines for the lead role of the Prince of Denmark, and it appeared that the hard work had paid off especially for fans like 16 year old Heather Dawson.
"He was really good, I thought," she said.
"I was really surprised." She needn't have been.
While Reeves is known for his roles in such films as Speed, Bram Stoker's Dracula and Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, this isn't his first foray into live theatre. Among others, he played Mercutio in a Toronto production of Romeo and Juliet in 1984, directed by Lewis Baumander, who is also directing this production of Hamlet.
Season ticket holder Doug Skoog said Reeves is doing MTC proud with his performance.
"He's doing a wonderful job," said Skoog as he inched his way back into the theatre for the second act. "He's quite convincing."
The curtains will come down on Reeves's Hamlet for the last time Feb. 4.