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Archive for October 13th, 2007

Hamlet – Citizens, Glasgow

Sadly, I was umimpressed with the production of Hamlet at the Citizens.   

Like many, I remember this from school, and apart from being taken to a production then, the only other one I have seen was Kenny Ireland’s production at the Lyceum with Tom McGovern as the Danish Prince, which was very good.

Firstly, some basic questions.     Why did the whole play start off with the big speech?    “To be or not to be…… ”       Where on earth was was Rosencrantz?    No there at all, it seems.    What happened to some of the text?     

Secondly, there was some really terrible line delivery – mechanical ‘getting the words out at all cost’ delivery.    Too much was simply shouted out loudly for no good reason.     Someone needs to tell the director that less can mean more at times.    Taking the level down so we all actually have to listen can be really effective.

Thirdly, some direction was dreadfully weak.   The great speech that Gertrude has on the death of Ophelia was delivered stage centre, straight out.   

Bits were good – the final fight scene,  Ophelia’s mad scene, the play within the play.    Hamlet’s performance was the best of the bunch, with Ophelia taking ages to warm into her role.

Shakespeare, like Bach, is a personal thing, where the interpretation is up to the performer/director.   I am afraid this simply did not chime with how I thought the words should be delivered, nor how the action should be interpreted.     

And, please tone down the smoke next time.   I don’t mind lots of smoke if it is needed, but it was really overdone here, and made for a very stuffy auditorium.   Clearly the ventilation was not up to much.

I have been spoilt with Domenic Hill’s brilliant Shakespeare productions at Dundee.   I would love to see what he would have done with this.

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