Entertainment / Gig Reviews

Hamlet

To be or not to be…

Shakespeare has always been one of my favourite things to go and watch (no really!), and I always felt that the best way to get a true feel of a Shakespeare plot is to emerse yourself within it.

Watching Shakespeare has always been a reminder of home (Stafford) for me. Every year Stafford Castle would put on a Shakespeare play, building a pop-up stage in the castle grounds, and the town would get together and watch the drama, tragedy or romance come to life. For many, the only experience of Shakespeare is being forced to read it in English lessons, but the productions at Stafford Castle had a great way of making them relatable and very entertaining.

Last month Icarus Theatre Collective put on a production of Hamlet at The Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield. Director Max Lewendel (founder of ICARUS Theatre Collective) described his version of Hamlet as Shakespeare for the Game of Thrones Generation.

The production lasted 2.5 hours (interval included), and is definitely worth a watch. The first half sets the scene, and it’s not really until after the interval where the ‘Game of Thrones’ (if you watch it) likeness comes into play. With intense fight scenes and a few moments that make you jump, it really is a unique spin on Hamlet.

The cast was lively and seemed to know their characters well, although some lines were a bit fluffed, and some audience members were a bit confused as to what was going on (mainly due to the fact that they didn’t know what Hamlet was about). We all know that Shakespeare plays can be a bit confusing anyway due to the language, but for maximum enjoyment I would recommend spending time reading up on the play so you get the gist of what’s going on (trust me, it does help).

Overall, it was funny and light-hearted in some scenes, but dramatic and tense where it needed to be. The costumes were cleverly designed to help the actors switch between characters quickly and considering the small cast, Hamlet was performed fantastically. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I’ll definitely be booking tickets to see ICARUS’s next production. Kudos for remembering all those lines!

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Don’t worry if you didn’t get a chance to see it! Hamlet is back at Harrogate Theatre, 21st – 22nd March 2017. Show times vary and tickets are £17.50 (concession apply).

By Georgie Dias

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