performance was an unalloyed pleasure because he approached
the text with such intelligence and sensitivity that even
the famous soliloquies sounded as if we were hearing them
for the first time. Dizzyingly exciting, it was
unquestionably the best reading of a Shakespeare tragedy and
possibly the best local Shakespeare ever."
In the December 2003 issue of Metro magazine, arts
editor Gilbert Wong presented "Five Prizes for the Luvvies".
The first of the five was the "Energizer Bunny of the Year
Award" presented to "Michael Hurst, who directed and starred
in two fine pieces of theatre, a dark, blackly humorous
reading of Hamlet and the cheerful slapstick panto Aladdin.
The latter proved you can make theatre for kids without
alienating grownups as long as you let the audience throw
things, while in the former he proved yet again that he is
our finest interpreter of the Bard. Hurst, who has founded
the new theatre company The
Large Group, capped off the year as one of the latest crop of
In the 3-9 January 2004 issue of the New
Zealand Listener, in its "Best of 2003" article, Michael Hurst was named best
Auckland-area theatre actor: "His complex portrayal of
Hamlet was the stand-out performance". David Aston's
"delightfully smarmy Polonius in Hamlet" was named
runner-up. The article also named Michael as runner-up for
Best Director, for Hamlet.