Monday, 24 July 2017

Hamlet with Andrew Scott My Short Review

This version of Hamlet some may call the definitive version of an oft-done play, was one production of our times and for our times.  The use of TV monitors and surveillance cameras in the castle itself to pick up the appearance of Hamlet's father's ghost was a neat touch.  Especially in the paranormal realm of finding evidence, the camera picks up what the eyes can't see, which I thought was a nice touch, even a glorious sense of irony in mirroring the murder of the King of Denmark, Hamlet's father by Claudius without anyone knowing or seeing him do this.  You'd think with such CCTV monitors he wouldn't have gotten away with it.  But alas as we know, it did take the appearance of his father to appear for Hamlet to speak with him whereupon he spills the "secret of his murder most foul."

Andrew Scott made the role his own with many funny scenes, including some 'akin to 'tantrum throwing' marking his slow spiral between being lost in his own soliloquies at times and the reality of what's happening around him, the plotting to bring down Claudius, his declaration of love for Ophelia which strikes him as an affliction as she also notices how he's changing.

The use of the cameras for news reports and filming the royals watching the 'play within a play' also adding a modern slant.  As well as Polonius wearing a listening device to hear the conversation and rely it to Hamlet's mother, Gertrude and uncle Claudius, show his actions.  Which at the end of the scene, Hamlet too pretends to speak into his jacket like Polonious does.  Again showing how everything is under scrutiny, but still Hamlet can get no justice for his father's murder and vengeance until he takes it upon himself to exact revenge via the play.  In which the cast were seated in front of the stage in front of the audience as they were watching the play too, another good touch.

The end scenes were poignant and indicative of reuniting everyone after their death, but at the same time showing the futility of the dastardly deed, whereupon all this heartache could've been avoided. With the protagonists giving up their wrist watches when they're dead.  As if to signify their time was up (as was the play's end) and to quote Shakespeare's MacBeth: "a poor player who struts and frets his hour upon the stage...and then is heard no more!"

Andrew portraying Hamlet with suitcase in hand travelling like a vagabond prince, as his thoughts were travelling with him and were all over the place whilst trying to make sense of the madness and utter despair.  On and quite a bit of 'rolling around' by the characters on the stage!!  Re aiming to mimic 'bedroom' scenes.  Also on hand was Bob Dylan's music interspersed between scenes where words weren't needed but to see the action only as watching the character's thoughts unfolding.

There was a moment on the TV screens where several scenes are played simultaneously and you just wanted to say, "miss me!"  I did.  The modern version also using the TV screens to signal the intermission with 'PAUSE' coming up on the screen.

All in all it was an interesting production and yet different, as each production of Hamlet stands out for its own various reasons and each actor brings their own interpretation of the doomed, sweet prince to light...

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