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Icarus Theatre Collective

Hamlet: Prince of Denmark

UK & Ireland Tour
Jan - April 2017
A co-production with King's Theatre, Southsea
Hamlet

Hamlet: Prince of Denmark


by William Shakespeare
directed by Max Lewendel

Shakespeare for the Game of Thrones generation.

A company of seasoned classical actors embrace the brutality of the greatest play ever written. A gripping, ensemble style brings exhilaration and violence to the unforgettable music and delicacy of the words.

For information about our accompanying education programme, click here.

five starsReviewsphere


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Reviews

Shakespeare in Ireland

Posted by edelsemple

flashes of brilliance.
striking moments made memorable thanks to the performances of the cast
The tag-team of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were one of the production's gems.
[Horatio] - the sole survivor of the orgy of violence
An invigorating and stylish production that captures the attention from the opening scene to Horatio's last word.



three stars

Bord Gáis Energy Theatre


To be faithful or not to be faithful? That is the question to be considered by anyone who takes on Shakespeare's signature tragedy, Hamlet, which charts the malign forces of murder and madness that challenge the sovereignty of the kingdom of Denmark.

Something is, indeed, rotten in the state: the king has been killed by his brother, Claudius, and his son Hamlet, true heir to the throne, has been thrown into a deep depression. The conflict is clear, the dramatic resolution less so. Will Hamlet (Nicholas Limm) sink into madness or rise above it to wreak his vengeance? Or will his lunacy in fact beget the best revenge of all?

This touring production from Icarus Theatre is at least superficially faithful. Under the direction of Max Lewendel, it retains a classical look and Lewendel makes no major changes to Shakespeare's text. The action unfolds against the backdrop of the castle at Elsinore, with veined marble and Danish flags dominating the visual field designed by Curtis C Trout.

There are some directorial interventions, however. The female characters are re-interpreted as warrior women, with Ophelia (Kerry Gooderson, in the most engaging performance of the evening) and Gertrude (Portia Booroff) battle-ready underneath their ballgowns.

There are several cross-cast roles too, most notably Horatio (played by Camille Marmié) and Rosencrantz (played by Virginia V Hartmann). These alterations to traditional performance traditions lend a more contemporary feel, but they alter neither our understanding of the role of women in the play nor do they elaborate our understanding of the characters.

Lewendel's central vision for Hamlet is to provide a visual dimension to the aspects of conscience that dominate in the play's soliloquies. Thus, Hamlet's internal struggles are shared and echoed by a chorus of plain-clothed confidants, a strategy underscored in the key soliloquies delivered by Claudius (Will Harrison-Wallace), Laertes (Andrew Venning) and Ophelia. The occasions when several voices are speaking at once, however, work against the actors, who are already struggling to be heard above Theo Holloway's dramatic soundscape, which is used to give an epic thrust to the key scenes of conflict. The hard-working ensemble of nine would have been better served by a more intimate approach.

On opening night, the theatre was filled with eager Leaving Cert students and there is plenty of swordplay, a few bare chests, and a touch of smutty crossdressing to keep the interest of a young, contemporary generation. If the students haven't already been convinced of Shakespeare's genius, however, it is doubtful they will be converted by this production, which provides surface levels of visual engagement at the expense of clear meaning.

Hamlet is at the Cork Opera House on February 6 and 7, at The Riverside Theatre, Coleraine, on February 8 and at Siamsa Tíre, Tralee, on February 13 and 14.



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