Sunday, 5 March 2017

Review: 'Hamlet'

by Daniel Hill


Rob Icke returns to the Almeida to adapt and direct a new production of Hamlet. Starring Andrew Scott in his Almeida debut and Juliet Stevenson returns straight after her run in Mary Stuart at the same theatre.  The play was a modern adaptation of the Shakespeare play and was very thought provoking due to the unique style of direction that Rob Icke has brought to the Almeida recently.

As most Shakespeare’s plays have the ability to, Hamlet was adapted successfully to be set in a modern period which made it more relatable to an audience. I thought that Andrew Scott brought a calm and simple character to the title role which different to many other portrayals of Hamlet. I thought this was very interesting but was played with both chutzpah and conviction. Scott was able to keep the audience in silent and awe as he spoke the famous speech which includes the words “To be or not to be” had an equal amount of silent and speech which kept the audience on the edge of their seats.

As an audience member of the first preview things are bound to go wrong, especially as this was originally due to be the second preview but the first was cancelled due to technical issues. One scene that stood out was after Polonius was murdered. I believe that the following moment was meant to be comical to the audience but not the actors. 

As Andrew Scott was dragging Polonius off using all the strength he could find, Juliet flipped out of character as she began to laugh. As this progressed it began to dawn on myself that this was not meant to be due to the fact that Andrew Scott also began to laugh. Juliet was able to quickly return to character though after the  moment had happened which was very commendable. It has been confirmed that at other performances this laughter did not break out.

Jessica Brown Findlay also returned to the Almeida Theatre to play the role of Ophelia. She confidently played Ophelia until the end and auspiciously played the decline of Ophelia beautifully with conviction.

Overall it was a great production with unique direction from Rob Icke and the Almeida team brought another fantastic piece of theatre to stage.


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