HAMLET To 17 December.


by William Shakespeare.

The Actors’ Temple Company St Andrew Church Crypt Holborn Circus EC4A 3AB To 17 December 2011.
Mon-Sat 7pm .
Runs 3hr 30min One interval.

TICKETS: 020 3004 4537.
Review: William Russell 8 December.

Gloomy Danes.
This is a thoroughly workmanlike staging of the play which makes good use of the crypt in which the performances take place. The audience starts by standing in the dark as the scenes on the battlements take place in considerable murk, after which it is escorted to seats in the great hall of Elsinore to watch what ensues.

The brick vaulted chambers beneath this venerable church provide excellent playing spaces, and the cast deliver a decent enough rendition of the play, managing (as not all productions do) to avoid making it sound like an endless series of passages from a Dictionary of Quotations. Mark Wakeling’s Hamlet is not so much a scholar prince as a rugby-playing one, but he delivers the lines clearly and with feeling, while as Ophelia Ellie Zeegen – somewhat subdued earlier on – rises to the demands of her mad scene. There is a nicely nasty Claudius from Gary Condes and a rather good, but occasionally inaudible, Gertrude from Julia Montgomery Brown.

As always with Hamlet an awful lot happens in the last three minutes and Young Fortinbras does not turn up. In the general melée it also seemed that Claudius decided to drink the poison left in the cup rather than die stabbed by Hamlet, and why Horatio has to be a grey bearded friar is anybody’s guess. But directors can do what they like.

The strolling players prove a noisy lot and need to be kept under control a bit – far too much rampaging about flexing muscles and threatening onlookers, all of which becomes extremely tiresome, as do Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. However as the drums bang in the dark, and the lights fade and rise again, one’s attention is certainly held.

Hamlet: Mark Wakeling.
Claudius: Gary Condes.
Gertrude: Julia Montgomery Brown.
Horatio: Simon Furness.
Polonius; Ron Sudhir Scala.
Ophelia: Ellie Zeegen.
Laertes: Tim Duthie.
Ghost/Player King: Ben Joiner.
Player Queen: Law Ballard
Osric: Benjie Dudgeon.
Bernardo: Craig Simons.
Marcellus: Michael Hunter.
Reynaldo: Simon Balcon.
Guikdenstern: John Pickard.
Rosencrantz: James Alexandrou.
1st Grave Digger: Rick Stupple.

Director: Tom Radcliffe.
Designer: Stella Scott.
Lighting: David Knight.
Sound/Music: Eva Abraham.
Costume: Gery Spencer.
Fight choreography: Tim Klotz.

2011-12-10 09:33:09

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