Theatre: Hamlet Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh
Wednesday 15 November 1995
Ireland's open-minded vision is beautifully evoked in Robin Don's designs and Ace McCarron's inventive lighting. Elsinore becomes a steeply raked, grey promontory, over which storm clouds race on a great white sail of sheeting. If for nothing else, this production will be remembered for the appearance in gargantuan close-up of Brian Cox as Hamlet's ghostly father, projected on the sky itself.
Tom McGovern's tousle-haired Hamlet is not yet fully comfortable with some of the big soliloquies: elsewhere, though, he's fully in control of his material, and his depiction of how Ophelia's rebuttal tips Hamlet from suicidal introspection into a murderous fury is very moving. Around him, Ann Louise Ross offers an understated but agonised Gertrude, Max Gold a solid Horatio, and Russell Hunter a fascinating, dignified Polonius.
With its orthodox but bold approach, Ireland's production never lets the audience's attention out of its grasp, while revealing fresh perspectives on one of theatre's most familiar stories.
n To 2 December. Booking: 0131-229 9697 RICHARD LOUP-NOLAN
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