Review: Hamlet

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My month in theatre has been distinctly Danish in flavour.

First, I went to the Old Vic to watch Rosencratz and Guildenstern Are Dead, starring the surprisingly dynamic pairing of Daniel Radcliffe and Joshua McGuire. It was an extremely enjoyable revival, with McGuire’s sparky wit anchored by Radcliffe’s slightly morose absurdity. Sadly I was too busy to write a full review, but consider this my positive recommendation.

Then, earlier this week, I took my seat in the back row of the Almeida for a highly-anticipated performance of Hamlet.

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Review: King Lear


There is a history of women playing classic male Shakespearean roles; in the past few years, parts stretching from Hamlet and Julius Caesar to Prospero and Richard III have been taken on by a range of actresses at British theatres, from Maxine Peake at the Manchester Royal Exchange to Harriet Walter for the Donmar Warehouse. The part of King Lear, however, has remained almost resolutely male.

There are exceptions, of course. In 1990, an 80-year-old Marianne Hope played Lear in a production directed by Robert Wilson. Kathryn Hunter took on the role in 1997, earning mixed reviews for her portrayal. Yet, despite these notable performances, the concept is still treated as a novelty at best, and an ‘absurdity’ (as Hope herself pointed out) at worst. Glenda Jackson’s appearance in the role for Deborah Warner’s new production for the Old Vic, then, is doubly remarkable; not only is Jackson adding her name to the female Lear canon, but the production is the actress and politician’s first stage role in 25 years. As a result, Jackson’s casting has generated some serious theatrical buzz, with all eyes on her to see how she handles the quintessential older male role. As soon as Jackson strides onto the stage, however, voice cracking like a whip as she calls her daughters to order, the casting choice seems anything but absurd.

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Review: Clarence Darrow at the Old Vic

Photo Credit: Manuel Harlan

Photo Credit: Manuel Harlan

There are few things in life more deliciously exciting than tickets. Living in London, one of the culture capitals of the world, I am spoiled for choice – and consequently have a drawer in my dresser filled with tickets and programmes from trips to the theatre, cinema, ballet, exhibitions…

Collecting cultural paraphernalia is an old habit left over from my boarding school days, when every inch of my walls would be covered with mementos from happy times – photos, ticket stubs, postcards, notes written in class and even the odd receipt. Nowadays, I try to be a little more selective with the contents of the drawer; I think of it as a reflection of how I spend my time, energy and money, valuable resources that are only to be given up for enriching experiences (I’m talking spiritual rather than financial enrichment here).

Luckily for me, there seem to be an abundance of those in this city.

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