Hamlet, theatre review: 'A fresh account in modern dress'
New Diorama, London
Friday 10 January 2014
This fresh, forceful, starkly staged account of Hamlet in modern dress kicks off the award-winning Faction's third annual rep season at the New Diorama where the same actors will also perform in Greek tragedy and Schiller.
The Shakespeare production boasts a casting coup. Mark Leipacher, its director, is writing the authorised biography of Simon Russell Beale and the great actor appears here as the ghost of Hamlet's father in a digitally recorded performance of brilliantly understated intensity and disgust that is eerily projected into the proceedings.
Jonny McPherson is impressive and in full technical command in the title role as he shifts between the floor-pounding emotional openness of the soliloquies and the mordant, wrong-footing mockery and compulsive funny voices of the hero's antic disposition.
I didn't feel, though, as one does with the greatest Hamlets, that the actor was also offering us a glimpse into his own soul.
Damian Lynch is too lightweight and youthful a presence to convince as Claudius, but Kate Sawyer vividly charts Gertrude's tormented unravelling and Derval Mellett is a quietly piercing Ophelia.
Not all the production's ideas work, though I liked the notion of doubling Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and the gravediggers who here pop up in the multi-purpose trunk.
To February 22; 020 7383 9034
After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violencefilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 3 Paul Scholes: Manchester United need five experienced players who can turn round a desperate situation
- 4 Nicki Minaj 'Anaconda': Singer finally releases predictable video
- 5 James Foley 'beheading': Met police warn public watching murder video could be criminal offence
Laughs go global as Eddie Izzard and Dylan Moran bring international comedians to the Edinburgh Fringe
The Top Ten: Horrible buildings
JK Rowling writes new Harry Potter story on Pottermore: Introducing 'Singing Sorceress' Celestina Warbuck
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Celebrity Big Brother 2014 line-up: Meet the contestants from Lauren Goodger to Kellie Maloney and Audley Harrison
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Scottish Independence Referendum: Salmond described as 'arrogant, ambitious and dishonest' by Scottish women