Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre, York – until Saturday 31st August 2019
Reviewed by Katie Goldsbrough
Overall this is a great experience for any Shakespeare enthusiasts. From the theatre itself to the performance. The actors walk amongst the groundlings (those that have purchased standing tickets and are right in front of the stage) at times, so you are fully immersed.
The set is almost entirely wooden so it would have fit in well in Shakespeare’s time. Be prepared for the archaic language which sometimes leads to parts of the play being difficult to follow. The level of acting however, helps you to understand what’s happening when the language is hard to follow for those less used to this way of speaking.
The set was cleverly designed with very little need for changes between scenes. The music was simple and effective adding to the ambience throughout and helping pace the play.
The acting overall was very good, led by David Oakes playing the title character of Hamlet, he grabbed the attention of the audience and engaged very well with the audience. He particularly stood out among a very good cast. Others to look out for include Richard Standing playing Claudius, King of Denmark who projected very well throughout and had great stage presence and Serena Manteghi playing Ophelia, who did ‘mad’ very well indeed, she also had a superb singing voice, which was displayed in the brief performance she gave in her role.
The costumes were very good and fit well with the period, however the ghost of King Hamlet played by Fine Time Fontayne was wearing a sort of veil over his costume which was removed during the performance, this seemed unnecessary and did not add to the costume which without that wasn’t too bad and was believable as a ghost. Being an open air theatre we were lucky with lovely sunny weather, in the seated area you would be mostly protected from the weather however, if you chose to embrace the experience and view the play as a groundling you would be in for an unpleasant time if the unpredictable Bristish weather wasn’t at it’s best, although you could argue that’s all part of the experience.
Overall this is a great authentic experience with excellent direction from Damian Cruden, with a unique set design and great acting throughout.
A must see for any Shakespeare lovers.