Manhattan’s The Public Theater is staging Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” with a star-studded cast that includes Oscar Isaac as Hamlet and Keegan-Michael Key as Horatio. Directed by Sam Gold, this production brings mirth and a diverse cast to one of Shakespeare’s most iconic and well-known plays.

Isaac and Key add emotional depth and excellent comedic timing

Golden-Globe winner Oscar Isaac, whose film credits include “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “X-Men: Apocalypse,” plays a Hamlet whose existential angst borders on the absurd. Isaac’s Hamlet spends much time on stage with no pants on, teetering precariously between eliciting the audience’s sympathy and derision.

Ultimately, though, Isaac delivers a soul-stirring performance of one of theater’s most cherished characters.

Keegan-Michael Key, known for his Emmy-winning comedy TV series “Key and Peele,” plays a Horatio that is hilarious and agreeable. Infusing the play with much-needed comic relief, Key’s superb timing lends “Hamlet” an air of affability in a production that is otherwise emotionally dense and at times macabre. This Horatio is devoted, hilarious, and dependable. He’s the kind of guy you want to ask, “Can we be best friends?”

A diverse cast and an intimate stage

The stage’s minimalism and the small theater space make this production an intimate experience, and the proximity between actor and audience renders “Hamlet” immersive for theater goers.

Actors make use of the theater’s every corner, from running down the stairs to stealing audience members’ seats.

The play boasts a diverse cast, and many of the roles include people of color, such as the titular character (Oscar Isaac is Latino) and Horatio (Key is African American). Charlayne Woodard plays a Gertrude who is both tragic and beautiful, and Roberta Colindrez bends gender conventions through her portrayal of an androgynous Rosencrantz.

Being Shakespeare’s longest play, “Hamlet” runs a hefty four hours with two intermissions, and the performance is certainly an emotional roller coaster. But excellent acting and the chance to fangirl over both Oscar Isaac (in his underwear!) and Keegan-Michael Key make this production an enjoyable, if not demanding, experience.

The Public Theater produces plays both Shakespearean and contemporary and has been a leading artistic presence in the Greater New York City area for over sixty years. It stages Shakespeare in the Park, and the theater’s Mobile Unit takes Shakespeare to the underserved to all five of New York’s boroughs.