The Theater: Old. Play in Manhattan

Hamlet (by William Shakespeare; produced by Michael Todd) brought Maurice Evans back to Broadway in the shortened, sharpened version with which he wowed G.I.s in the Pacific. It is frankly a tough guy's Hamlet, with the Prince himself anything but a softie. It moves swiftly and mounts steadily with the crackle of great melodrama. It cuts boldly across whole scenes—there are no gravediggers, no "Alas, poor Yorick," no obsequies for Ophelia. It cuts boldly across time: Actor Evans has laid it in a 19th-Century Denmark of waltzes and tight trousers.

The 19th Century proves...