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Posts Tagged ‘Sally Dexter’

It’s taken me a couple of days to write about this because it’s taken me a couple of days to reflect and decide what I think about it!

What I am absolutely clear about is that The Young Vic Theatre and the play’s director Ian Rickson win all the prizes for bravery, ambition and sheer balls. Messing with the bard’s most famous play? Quelle horreur! Rickson’s ‘big idea’ is that it’s all in Hamlet’s head…..or our heads? We enter a mental institution, on a pretty long and impressive  ‘journey’, where the whole play takes place. It’s Hamlet -The Story-The Characters-The Words, but not Hamlet as we know it.

The first half is rather ponderous and slow with lots of Pinteresque silences Shakespeare didn’t write, but it picks up pace significantly in the second half. When it’s running at full steam, it’s a thrilling psychological ride with a couple of clever and brilliant coup d’theatre. Hamlet has never been as confused, damaged, tortured, lost, persecuted…..

Michael Sheen lives up to expectations as the Danish prince – an intelligent and often thrilling performance. There’s an excellent supporting cast, with Sally Dexter capturing Gertrude’s love for both her son and her new man and Vinette Robinson providing a fascinating emotional rollercoaster as Ophelia. Jeremy Herbert creates an all too believable institution with a significant contribution from Adam Silverman’s lighting (and lack of!).

This is the Hamlet that seems to be dividing people, and in my case dividing me….but I have nothing but admiration for the theatre and the creative team – it would have been so easy to churn out another traditional Hamlet-as-star-vehicle like the RSC and Donmar. Challenging stuff indeed.

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