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Icarus Theatre Collective

Hamlet

National Tour
Autumn 2010 - Spring 2011
A co-production with Harrogate Theatre
Hamlet

Hamlet

By William Shakespeare

Does revenge justify murder?

Line

Reviews



Helene Reinbolt, Beats Boards Banter


Review - Hamlet - The Hexagon - Monday, 21 March 2011

If you weren't interested in either cheap booze filled Monday madness, kicking it with the DIOYY kids or, joining the small minority group camping out for Festival tickets, then you may have been tempted by a bit of The Bard. Nothing quite like a good tragedy to start your fun-packed week.

The Icarus Theatre is not shy when it comes to defying the rules and presenting things in the darkest of lights. If you weren't familiar with Hamlet then the full page write up on depression in the programme would have been your first clue of what was to follow. However, if you were familiar with The Great Dane then director Max Lewendel's spin on the classic tale of revenge, madness, deception and sexuality still held surprises in store.

From a single set (clever) to Horatio being...a girl (crazy times), plus there were only nine performers (maverick, and successful), t'was rife with violence, incestuous undertones (Laertes, Nick Holbek, was superbly sleazy), and you can never go wrong with a bit of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern action (wonderfully performed by Tobias Deacon and Omar Ibrahim). In contrast to Dani McCallum's desirable and dominant Horatio, Ophelia (Loren O'Dair) was your standard submissive sister/daughter and O'Dair was brilliantly batty in her grief. John Eastman was extremely amusing as the wordy, pompous Polonius.

David Tennant brought his unequivocal charisma to the role, Jude 'I am to acting what x-factor is to the music industry but, gee whiz I'm pretty' Law just proved exactly how political the theatre can be (sadly), and then we have Giles Roberts. Roberts excelled himself with the darkness of Hamlet's mind being vividly conveyed through both melancholy and humour. A powerful and poignant performance.

The true tragedy of the night was that Icarus team's cloak-drenched and dagger-wielding production was not performed to a full house.

Perhaps the most rational line of the evening was from one of the happy campers outside the theatre; "Next time if we're going to camp for tickets I think we should come a bit later." They were the only ones in line at 7:30pm and the only ones in line at 10:30pm. Get thee to an internet cafe.



Gillian Carter, The Tribe


This Mad Young Man

The Byre, Wednesday 27 October

Following on from last year's excellent production of Othello, Icarus Theatre Collective and Harrogate Theatre made their return to the Byre with another Shakespearean favourite, Hamlet, directed by Max Lewendel. For a protagonist who could easily become melodramatic, Giles Roberts made Hamlet believable and moved seamlessly through his emotional transformations. Loren O'Dair was similarly convincing as Ophelia, continually engaging when on stage despite having comparatively few lines. The casting of Dani McCallum as a female Horatio must also be noted for turning the traditional Shakespearean concept of men playing women on its head and adding an interesting dynamic to Horatio's relationship with Hamlet, not unaided by her compelling acting.

The simple set left much to the imagination, but the production was none the worse for it, with its versatility being the key to its success. The use of human statues was, while disconcerting at first, a clever way of altering atmosphere and suggesting the supernatural undercurrents of the play. The discordant and distinctly modern soundtrack was initially strange, and quite striking in the first scenes partly due to its volume; in the second act though, it became subtler and more effective. The decision to use period costuming despite some contemporary choices in other areas worked well, and the selection of dialogue in this much-condensed version of Shakespeare's work sufficiently conveyed the plot and characters, as well as adding many comedic moments. Overall, the performance was thoroughly enjoyable, and sets the bar high for when the company returns with Macbeth in 2011-12.

 

Prija Gulraj, Hertford Mercury


Hertford Theatre
Wednesday, March 9

One of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies came to Hertford Theatre last Wednesday, with a dramatic performance or Hamlet.

Giles Roberts of Icarus Theatre Collective gave a poignant performance as the grief stricken Hamlet, sharing the loss of his father in both his madness and his melancholy. The tragic hero was supported by a strong cast, highlighted by a stark contrast in the brooding Laertes (Nick Holbek) and a powerful performance by John Eastman as Polonius and as the ghost of his dead father.

Audiences were given a different perspective, with a female Horatio played by Dani McCallum, lending the role of Hamlet's support and confidante a refreshing twist.

The portrayal of Ophelia (Loren O'Dair) and Gertrude (Julia Munow) was moving, as they are both obliged to obey and comply with the menfolk. Ophelia and Hamlet's stage chemistry was enticing, with Ophelia's spiral into madness represented as a reflection of Hamlet's melancholy. Gertrude showed her conflicting loyalties between Hamlet and Claudius, played by John Paton, revealing a conniving King who persuades others to carry out his dirty work for him.

Ophelia's death towards the end of the play was both dramatic and touching, especially when the stage set was used as a tomb for her to be lowered into.

The effective set was used for battlements, a throne dais, bedroom and graveyard, and a simple White marble backdrop and Denmark flags provided the perfect effect.

A dramatic storyline was only emphasised by an excellent cast and brilliant acting, and Icarus Theatre Collective's Hamlet comes highly recommended.

 

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