"Experimental production sadly falls short"
by Matthew Partridge for remotegoat on 08/06/18

Hamlet is perhaps Shakespeare’s most well known play. So it is understandable that Theatre Collection has decided to shake things up so much that their production, running at the Lion and Unicorn and directed and adapted by Victor Sobchak, is sold as ‘after Shakespeare’. In practice this means that large cuts are made, with many of the most famous speeches omitted, scenes rearranged and some of Hamlet’s (played by Dima Sol) lines given to other characters, most notably Nell Hardy’s Horatio. Indeed, Horatio is reimagined as an Iago-like character paying the two players (Christina Massaro and Peter Watts) to pose as his dead father.

However, while it is always good to see a new spin on the play, many of the changes, such as the decision to have Jeremy Chevilotte’s Laertes dress in woman’s underwear, don’t add much to the play. Others, such as the lack of prop swords in the fencing scene, seem like an oversight, rather than a deliberate decision. Apart from James Billington’s Claudius, none of the actors are particularly memorable, and some visibly struggle with the text. Overall, instead of provoking, or throwing light on previously neglected parts of the text, this particular experiment ends up falling short.

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