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Icarus Theatre Collective


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


By William Shakespeare

Does revenge justify murder?


Feedback for Hamlet


Dear Max and Team,

May I first of all offer my thanks and congratulations to the nine actors and production team for an engaging, creative and accessible production of "Hamlet" which I saw in Spalding on Friday evening.

The programme was interesting and informative - especially your apt thoughts on Revenge and Depression.

The blend of traditional and aspects of physical theatre worked extremely well. I also very much liked your approach to the text - not just the interesting multi roling - but the experimentation with different character voices in, for example, some of the soliloquies - almost as a vocal and physical chorus. The stage space physical images were carefully considered and certainly enhanced the key themes of the play with a refreshing simplicity. The acting was extremely engaging: it is perhaps unfair to mention Giles Roberts, but I found his fresh and original interpretation of the prince both truthful and wholly engaging. His interactions with R and G particularly were human and fully explored in terms of his changing relationships with them.....

I could go on! However, I do not want to bore you with a full review.....

The production was also particularly interesting for me as I am registered on a PhD research programme at King's London looking at the performability and attraction for actors and directors of Q1 Hamlet.

Best wishes to you and the team for the rest of the tour of "Hamlet".

Kind regards,
-Ian Mann

I watched Hamlet last night and had to email to say what a superb production I thought it was. It's fantastic to have such top quality theatre available locally and with 5 front row seats was affordable for people with little income. It's a privelidge to be able to watch such high standards of acting and production without having to break the bank by going up to London. First class acting, slick pace, and effective set - a superb Shakespeare production. It's the first time I've seen an Icarus production but will definately look out for them again. Please pass on my sincere thanks to the cast and crew.

-Natalie Pink

I saw your production of Hamlet at Harrogate Theatre last night. I thought it was excellent - thoughtful interpretation, good cast, great production and a brilliant Hamlet - well done.

Many thanks
-John Lawler


mum took me to see hamlet at theatr hafren and it was brill!!! More kids should love Shakespeare. I'm ten and it's me that dragged mum to watch hamlet and now she loves it too, I can't wait for Macbeth. : )

-Sarah Samuels

'i enjoyed the production hugely. each cast member was impressive. i enjoyed the little jolly king.'

-Joe Reed

To everyone in the cast and crew of Hamlet,

I saw the production last night and could only leave a token message in the book as I left the theatre, so, having slept and thought on it, here's some more. :)

I was both impressed and at the same time disturbed by the performance.

To write of why or how I was impressed is easy. I liked the simple but very effective set and the way the actors used it as battlements, throne dais, bedroom and graveyard and I enjoyed the poses of the cast suggesting tableaux from great religious art. I thought this was a nice touch that leant a sense of the 'epic' and the spiritual (besides providing a smug smile of recognition to ex art students like myself).

The various themes of the play, as I understood them to be from the performance (I don't pretend to be a Shakespeare buff) were powerful and consistently portrayed. The corruption and infamy in the pursuit of personal/political power came over hot and strong, and I was particularly struck by the plights of Ophelia and the Queen. Two sides of the same coin, in a way. Neither has a choice. They are obliged to obey and comply with the demands of their menfolk or go mad/die/be shut away! In this respect I was particularly struck by the controlling and brooding performance of Laertes, almost beast-like in his physical drives, and such a contrast to Hamlet.

The king was all he should be, IMO - avuncular, apparently reasonable, maybe even a good monarch for the state to have under the circumstances. But he is without morals or honour and is effectively doomed by the ghost of the man he killed, even though he never sees him again. I saw a small man dressing up as the king and hiding behind anyone who he could persuade to do his dirty work for him, all to save his neck. No-one was indispensable in the pursuit of that goal.

Which brings me to Hamlet himself.

Hamlet disturbed me greatly, and this morning that is a compliment. Last night I felt somewhat differently. I watched the performance with my husband and we had a pretty lively exchange at the interval over Hamlet's character and the portrayal of it. Our different views at that time were down, in large part, to our family circumstances. Our eldest son is today auditioning for drama school and one of his pieces is the 'too too solid flesh' speech. Fine. Okay. He was also diagnosed just this year as having Bipolar (he insists quite rightly that it doesn't define him) and he does, on occasion, self harm. It is shocking but I do understand it is a survival technique. rather a damaged son than no son at all.

You can maybe imagine how personal last night's performance was to us, and I was interested to realise this morning that I was most upset by it. My husband, being less emotional than me (and not being a mother!) could see the parallels and points of contact between the character of Giles Robert's Hamlet in a different way to myself (more objectively?). At the time, I rejected some of the more desperate truths in the performance because they were unacceptably painful to me. This morning, I am more willing to let Giles Robert's Hamlet stand alone, away from the emotions it stirred up, and say, as my son might, that it was 'real' and a lot of it was 'true for us'.

My son was supposed to accompany us last night but felt it was too close to his audition to risk having his 'reading' of Hamlet thrown by another actor's. He would very much like to see it, however, so if you could let me know where you are next performing Hamlet we will try to get to it.

All the best for the tour
- Annonymous (and family)

I'm from London-derry in Norhtern Ireland where you recently held the play 'Hamlet'  in our local theatre 'The Millenium Forum'.

I would like to congratulate you on a wonderful show I thorley enjoyed from beggining to end. My other enquire is about information on the play itself.
-Christina McGarvey

I have just returned from your amazing production of hamlet in Barnsley. I am so disappointed that there were so few people there to enjoy it. I have thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of it, the acting being outstanding particularly Hamlet himself. Thank you so much for such an uplifting performance.

-Louise Mullany


Dear Icarus,

I saw your production of Hamlet at the Bacon Theatre last night. I was particularly interested in your edit of the script as I am considering directing Hamlet for our amatuer group some time. I have to say you did it very well - to get the play down to a reasonable time without losing the cohesion - or Rosencrantz and Guildenstern! - is a tremendous achievement. I loved the way your designers blended the set and costumes and the shapes and pictures were extremely effective. The pace never dropped and the scene-to-scene changes were excellent - I was particularly impressed by the way the actors switched roles without, for me, causing confusion. As a devotee of Shakespeare I am always delighted to see a young company taking his works round the country and it was gratifying to see such a young audience being, clearly, well entertained by a vibrant interpretation of his masterwork. It must be extremely difficult in these straitened times to keep a company going and I wish you every success for this and future productions.

-Steve Evans

I very much enjoyed your performance of Hamlet at Lakeside Arts Centre (University of Nottingham ) Saturday 27 November. You have inevitably prompted a question. It was both a satisfying and, at the same time, provocative production.

-Malcolm Matthews


I came to see your production of Hamlet at the Swindon Arts Centre, and just wanted to drop a note to say thank you, and how much i enjoyed it.

I really liked your staging; although at first i was worried how you were all going to fit on the Arts Centre's small-but-perfectly-formed stage!  And i liked the statues at first, but then when i saw how clearly they were able to give a sense of space, i liked the statues even more!  Really nice way of distinguishing the locations!

And i really enjoyed the mausoleum of the gravedigger scene (just when the audience has relaxed and expecting nothing else from the staging!
I wondered whether the addition of a sheet across the top of the spikes might've helped create the bed a little more for the bedchamber scene...?
The props and costume were great, and that shiny sword was fab; i wondered whether Hamlet could hold it up to Gertrude's face for "Set you up a mirror", thus giving her a reason to cry out to Polonius?
I REALLY liked the way Ophelia's madness was handled in your production... I've always found Ophelia the 2nd toughest role in the show (Player King = nought-to-sixty acting required, and gotta be believable or Hamlet's O What A Rogue And Peasant Slave speech won't work!) - and her madness especially tricky (particularly as Shakey makes her madness something visible judging by Laertes' line just after she's entered!).

Often, we see Ophelias take the easy option of not connecting to the words, and ending up trusting to untethered, strong emotion (ie: wailing, tear-soaked and a little hammy)... but i really thought this was a strong, subtle performance.

Speaking of things i really enjoyed, i thought Laertes was very well played - as with all the other roles this actor played...  All the stage presence and solidity of character of a young Jeffery Wright (I've always found the Poloniuses the most fascinating aspects of the play - especially the absence of the mother!)

I also enjoyed the R&G scenes, and thought they handled themselves well, but would personally've preferred less comedy from off the page, and a little more from the text itself (as it is there, i've always found) - but both actors worked well in these and in all their other characters...  And a little milking it here and there actually works well for these characters!

Claudius was good, but this actor surprisingly was even better as the gravedigger!  Much more confident, much more assured in the role...  I felt he knew this bit backwards...!

When i did my own version of Hamlet, i really messed up on the Ghost and Horatio...  Just couldn't deliver the Ghost i wanted to deliver visually, but did okay with the text...  Your Ghost looked great.

Your Horatio was very, very good.  My favourite part of the play.  I love it when i get to see something totally new, and the reaction to the R&G deaths was well set-up in the earlier scene and well delivered at the end...  I'd never seen it before, and i've watched *many* different Hamlets...  Loved it!!  I also really liked the unrequited love aspect and i just thought the whole character here was well-realised...  Very enjoyable.

Can't forget to talk about ol' Hammy himself, of course...
He held the stage well... and certainly looked very dramatic...  And his "torture" moments were viscerally realised.

Speaking of the edit - i thought that the moving of the soliloquies was very well handled (especially the movement of "To be" and the edit and placement of "What is a Man", very clever!) and well delivered by your Hamlet.

I liked also your interval point...  Very nice.  (i'd have swapped the two versions around so that Hamlet delivers the one before the break, and the statues deliver the lead-in after the break - but who cares how i'd do it?!  ;-P)

Anyway, i just wanted to say thank you for a very enjoyable evening's entertainment... I may not have agreed with all of it, but that never goes against my enjoyment of all of it - and i like difference, especially as no one actor is right about everything!

It was a strong ensemble production, and there were no weak cogs in this finely oiled machine!  Lighting and sound were excellent (and i liked the onstage music backstage even more than the recorded, really added lots) and the whole thing was thought-provoking, dramatic, poignant and fun... 

Sorry for rambling on and forcing my opinions on you, but i did want to make sure that i said how much i enjoyed it!

Thanks for listening,
David Howell.

HAMLET, ICARUS THEATRE, Swindon Arts Centre, November 29th 2010

The actions of the play were dynamic and it moved as a play, and it moved on ones emotions! It is after all, a great play and here it gripped. The women on the stage really made the play. Body language and vocals created their own dynamic. Overall an enormous sense of gratitude to this company for bringing this masterpiece to a Swindon backwater to play to a half empty theatre. Where were the literature departments of local schools and colleges? Who was responsible for the publicity? Who failed to alert the younger generation to their chance, all too rare, to rub shoulders with greatness?

John Papworth

Dear Icarus Theatre actors, producers, backstage assistants, everyone involved in the Loughborough performance of Hamlet,

Just to say how very much my son (aged 13) and I enjoyed your performance of Hamlet, at Loughborough Town Hall last week.

It was a first introduction to Shakespeare for him and the first time in ages I have seen a Shakespeare play.

I was hoping for an accessible but gripping performance, to introduce Shakespeare to a teenage boy the way it was meant to be experienced; not aridly, on the printed page, but on stage.

That is exactly what you delivered.

He is hooked, thanks to you, and we are looking forward to your Macbeth, (which I am told is taught in Year 9 - I will be sure to tell the English teacher that you will be retiurning to Loughborough next season).

Thank you so much for a wonderful performance.

Best regards and wishes for your great work. Please keep it up!

Janette and Julian


RT @HGtheatre: First night last night of @icarustheatre's HAMLET- great show! Tickets are available, on til Sat - Berwins highly recommends - Berwins Solicitors

@icarustheatre I saw HAMLET with one of my best friends last night at Harrogate Theatre... it was incredible! Thank you! - Claire Margerison

@icarustheatre Enjoyed Hamlet in Berwick. Incredibly complex play & difficult to perform well, but you did it. Thanks & congratulations! - VJY

@icarustheatre Enjoyed seeing your production in Guildford last night... - Jim Slater


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The Lesson by Eugène Ionesco

starstarstarstarstarCurierul National


The Lesson Eugène Ionesco

starstarstarstar or better
in 15 of 17 reviews

Out of all productions with a star rating in the last 3 years:

starstarstarstar or better
in 36 of 45 reviews

The Lesson Eugène Ionesco

"Max Lewendel's production succeeds by the strength of its acting and the steadily increasing tension."

Jeremy Kingston, The Times


The Lesson Eugène Ionesco

"Directed so specifically that the beast of chaos that charges through Ionesco's work like his own rhinoceros is safely routed through the play."

Rebecca Banks, Ham & High


The Lesson Eugène Ionesco

"A daring production by an energetic new company, the London-based Icarus Theatre Collective, it pulls no punches in its visceral pursuit of pure absurdism."

Daniel Lombard,
South Wales Argus


The Lesson Eugène Ionesco

Premiul special al juriului
Special Jury Prize:
Cash prize from Romania

The Lesson Eugène Ionesco

Premiul pentru cea mai buna actrita ín rol principal
Best Actress in a Leading
Role: Amy Loughton

Coyote Ugly by Lynn Siefert

"Scarlet, a wild 12-year-old, like a coyote bitch on heat".

John Thaxter, What's On


by William Shakespeare

starstarstarstarstarCarrick Biz
starstarstarstarstarStage, Screen, & the Mystique
starstarstarstarThree Weeks

Journey's End
by R.C. Sherriff

starstarstarstarThe Times

starstarstarstarThe Scotsman
starstarstarstarManchester Eve News

by William Shakespeare

With sword, axe, spear and bare fist fighting it is an impressively energetic and dynamic production.

Victoria Claringbold, Remotegoat


The Trials of Galileo
by Nic Young

Icarus Theatre fly into London on waxen wings, which, after this compelling production, show no sign of melting any time soon.

Edwin Reis, Remotegoat


Spring Awakening
by Frank Wedekind

Nigh-on Faultless. The cast are, one and all, magnificent.

Roderic Dunnett, Behind the Arras


by William Shakespeare

"Max Lewendel's production is fast-paced and pulls the audience straight in... Outstanding".

Von Magdalena Marek, Newsline

by William Shakespeare

"Particularly haunting is the piece because of the use of music and sounds, designed by Theo Holloway. The effect is outstanding".

Von Magdalena Marek, Newsline

by William Shakespeare

"Max Lewendel's production is fast-paced and pulls the audience straight in... Outstanding".

Von Magdalena Marek, Newsline

by William Shakespeare

"The play explodes into action with a high-powered fight sequence using real swords, axes and spears that superbly captured the intensity of battle".

Robin Strapp, British Theatre Guide

Journey's End
by R.C. Sherriff

"A powerfully emotive production."

Julie Watterston, The Stage

Albert's Boy
by James Graham

"Theatre at its best."

Aleks Sierz, The Stage

Coyote Ugly by Lynn Siefert

"The five-member cast fill the dim confines of the theatre like a desert storm".

Le Roux Schoeman,
Church of England Newsletter

Coyote Ugly by Lynn Siefert

"This sexy, steamy drama really hits home, especially after delivering the scorpion sting in its tail".

Philip Fisher,
British Theatre Guide

The Lesson Eugène Ionesco

"Comedy, tragedy, fear, mystery, sex, violence, disturbance: The Lesson has them all".

Eleanor Weber,
Raddest Right Now

The Lesson Eugène Ionesco

"It is impossible not to enjoy Icarus Theatre Collective’s production of Ionesco’s one-act play".

The Stage

Coyote Ugly by Lynn Siefert

"The cast navigates the perilous emotional terrain with aplomb".

Visit London (Totally London)

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"Sizzling bursts of desire and hate among the North American sands".

Timothy Ramsden,
Reviews Gate

Albert's Boy
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Victor Spinetti is outstanding."

Cheryl Freedman,
What's On in London

Albert's Boy
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"A beautifully crafted piece."

Joanna Bacon,
Rogues & Vagabonds

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Kevin Hurst, Extra! Extra!

Many Roads to Paradise
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"You would pay a lot of money in the West End for a class act like this, so why not pop along to the Finborough and find out what great nights are made of."

Gene David Kirk,
UK Theatre Web


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William Saroyan

"Book as soon as possible!"

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Rogues & Vagabonds

The Time of Your Life
William Saroyan

"This is the kind of consoling play we need right now."

-Jane Edwardes, Time Out

Romeo & Juliet
William Shakespeare

"A rollercoaster rendering of the play that dragged the audience on a fast-paced soul-stirring ride for two heart-rending hours."

Team Locals

Romeo & Juliet
William Shakespeare

"An excellent take on a globally-renowned tale of true love."

Take on the Road by Lauren Razavi

Romeo & Juliet
William Shakespeare

"Props to Icarus Theatre Collective for putting on such a fantastic show."


Team Locals

Romeo & Juliet
William Shakespeare

"A fresh and invigorating version of this time-honoured romantic tragedy."

Darlington & Stockton Times - Christina McIntyre

The Time of Your Life
William Saroyan

"Fine performances from the 26-strong cast."

-Michael Billington, The Guardian

The Lesson Eugène Ionesco

"You can reach out and touch the emotional atmosphere."

-Julienne Banister,
Rogues & Vagabonds

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