Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, but it’s certainly not the performance of Rafael Goldstein as the revenge-bent prince. This briskly paced, two-hour production belongs almost entirely to Goldstein, whose jangled, dangerous Hamlet is not to be believed when he tells Gertrude, “I essentially am not in madness, but mad in craft.” This endlessly tense, hand-wringing Hamlet is, in fact, crazier than a shithouse rat, a man entirely driven by the impossible task of “setting time right.” Goldstein’s commitment to craft is a marvel, his mining of the text an eye opener, even for a critic who has studied the play and seen it performed countless times. Maya Erskine’s Ophelia is likewise riveting, but the rest of the ensemble is uneven. Denise Devin directs with total commitment to meaning, context and speedy but thorough forwarding of action. Michael Maio’s menacing music aptly underscores Goldstein’s threatening characterization. The Grim ReaperÐbased ghost of Hamlet’s father is a conceptually laughable blemish on an otherwise interesting production.

Fridays, 8:30 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: July 6. Continues through Aug. 12, 2012

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.

LA Weekly