Posted 28 March 2013 - 09:54 PM
At some point in the play I became obsessed with the lighting, or the lack thereof. Either the RSC is trying to save on its energy bill or my eyesight is failing. If it's meant to symbolise something about the play, I don't think I got the point.
I liked Slinger well enough (any actor who can speak in low tones with his back to the audience and is perfectly audible in the back rows has my undying devotion) and found the sarcasm and wailing amusing, but I didn't care about his Hamlet's fate.
Quite liked the players and Ophelia's grave, the rest of the cast was decent with Greg Hicks and Pippa Nixon as the stand-outs, liked Laertes a lot as well.
The last Hamlet I saw was at the Young Vic and set in an asylum so I'm getting used to the 'psychiatric' interpretation of Hamlet, but I think I'm quite ready for a traditional grief stricken Hamlet now.
Saying that, I'm happy that I saw it, and equally happy that I just got a cheap restricted view ticket since I'd be a bit grumpy if I'd spent full price on it.
Posted 28 March 2013 - 10:43 PM
Slinger's age goes against him. He should've played Hamlet a few years back, but nevertheless, he has strong moments. Impressed by his 'Poor Yorick' speech, judged that just right I think. He must cut down on the silly voices.... some of it is very 'acty'.
Jon Bausor's design- a fencing school hall by the looks of it-, whilst not a technical marvel, serves the play very well. And it fits the space well. Firstly, there are very very few scene changes, allowing the scenes to run into each other. Characters walk on as the previous scene is finishing - often to great effect, when a reference to them is made. A school stage- dull red curtains et al - is a constant presence, and doubles well for court scenes, closet and of course the players, all too often done in a very arty stylised way. Here it's clear; we know the point Hamlet is making, and if we do, so will Claudius.
Greg Hicks excellent- superb verse speaking - as is Charlotte Cornwell as his new wife. Polonius didn't make much of an impression sadly.
There's no overwhelming concept to this, so the play is afforded clarity. The relationships are clear, and Claudius as the ghost is the best way of doing it I think. Better than Hamlet, as in the Michael Sheen YV production.
David Farr still hasn't got over his love of white light strips around the end of the stage. Every production of his I've seen has had it. Why?
So not a radical re-invention, but by no means a stinker as Mr Spencer seems to make out. Some really good stuff in there, and it'll only get better as the run progresses.
Posted 29 March 2013 - 06:35 PM
One of my favourite piece of Shakespeare's writing, in any of the plays.
I forget who it was who suggested recently that a really brave director might like to try cutting the Gravediggers and going straight from "Too much of water hast thou, poor Ophelia," or thereabouts, via some unspecified device (and it'd have to be a big and clever one) and pick up somewhere around "What ceremony else". I don't quite know how it would be done, but anything that gets shot of the tedium of the Gravediggers could only be a good thing.
Posted 29 March 2013 - 09:54 PM
So I'm presuming this production doesn't do it right either.
Posted 29 March 2013 - 11:46 PM
Posted 30 March 2013 - 12:56 AM
Done badly things like Macbeth's Porter and the Gravediggers can really be awful - but that can often be because the director doesn't have enough trust in the text to be funny and either cuts or works against it.
Thinking back to Tuesday's press night - yes, the Gravediggers scene is truncated - and it doesn't work as well as in other productions.
Posted 30 March 2013 - 11:32 AM
About the only time I can recall finding one genuinely funny was the Porter in the Chichester (Gould/Stewart) Macbeth. Pace Poly, I didn't think much to the gravediggers in the Doran/Tennant Hamlet, although I am willing to be convinced that the contrast with what comes before and after is important. *goes off to think*
Posted 30 March 2013 - 06:31 PM
About the only time I can recall finding one genuinely funny was the Porter in the Chichester (Gould/Stewart) Macbeth.
How about Lilly Savage in the Cheek by Jowl Macbeth ? A brave attempt at least.
Posted 31 March 2013 - 08:54 AM
Stephen Noonan was an excellent Porter in the Doran 'Macbeth' (with Sher and Walter) - admittedly some years ago now.
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