Harold Pinter, London – until 2 September. Reviewed by Keiley Archer
Robert Icke’s Hamlet offers a fresh version of the Shakespeare classic, moving to the Harold Pinter Theatre for a chilling, intimate performance. The modernised adaptation is led by Andrew Scott as Prince Hamlet, supported by Angus Wright as Claudius, Juliet Stevenson as Gertrude, and Jessica Brown Findlay as Ophelia.
Beginning with the appearance of the ghost of King Hamlet ominously revealing the truth of his murder to his son, the play explores Hamlet’s deep melancholy following his father’s death and his mother’s prompt marriage to Hamlet’s uncle Claudius, and his apparent madness as he becomes obsessed with avenging his father.
Knowing of the numerous long monologues and soliloquies, I was sceptical of it getting monotonous, particularly due to its long running time of three and a half hours, but Scott succeeded all expectations. His skill during the desperately vulnerable speeches captivated the audience, each viewer on the edge of their seat as he seamlessly transformed from tears to rage, and sadness to madness, realistically portraying Hamlet’s complicated psychology.
Though one of Shakespeare’s tragedies, comedy is effectively woven into the play which provides relief from the dark undertones without distracting from the main plot. The incorporation of the video screens was unique, and were well intertwined into the play. I felt that these specific additions are particularly well suited to people who have perhaps not seen much Shakespeare before, as they make it easy to follow the play, as well as adding to the enjoyment for Shakespeare fans.
Ultimately, Hamlet proved to be a highly engaging, unique adaptation of the Shakespeare tragedy which is a must see, 4.5/5. It runs at the Harold Pinter until 2nd September and is a must-see for theatre lovers.