HAMLET. 28/9/16. BEVERLEY ERT.
Four-hundred years since Shakespeare died, and his plays are more popular than ever. With this ERT production of “Hamlet” directed by RADA-trained Clive Kneller, an accomplished actor himself, it’s no surprise that audiences en-masse continue to be enthralled by The Bard’s extraordinary canon of work. Kneller’s interpretation remains true to the original, Olde English having never sounded so lyrical than when dispensed by a cast composed of seasoned veterans and young “newcomers.”
Father of “Poldark” star Eleanor Tomlinson, Beverley’s Malcolm Tomlinson stars as Claudius, the man accused of murdering Hamlet’s father. The second time Malcolm has appeared at the venue in 2016, he has returned in the wake of “Blackbird” having wowed ERT crowds back in February.
The lead role was taken by Gabriel Winter, a young actor who has previously appeared in “Oliver Twist” and “Lady Windermere’s Fan.” As dashing as the role of Hamlet demands, Gabriel wowed from the off, looking the part as much as he sounded it, as though he’d been born to play the role.
With a cast of thirteen in total, there were eleven males to just two females, Clive Kneller unrecognisable – and hilarious – as the main gravedigger. It couldn’t be denied that everybody played their parts to perfection, Neil King’s wonderful turn as Polonius further proving his talent as an actor.
Making the most of the theatre’s intimacy, Kneller’s expert direction saw to it that certain cast members “entered” certain scenes from the back of the theatre, thereby awarding rapt theatregoers more of an immersive experience. On-stage, the cast looked genuinely at home beneath Ed Ullyart’s fantastically imposing set. The costumes, designed by Edwina Jackson and Sylvia Eales, were equally as eye-catching.
Spread over two acts, Act II led to one of the most dramatic showdowns in theatrical history, Hamlet’s fence-off with Laertes (played by Peter McMillan) constituting a genuinely thrilling climax.
Living and breathing every aspect of their respective characters, the cast were unfaultable. With every single line delivered with panache, the overall effect was nothing short of mesmerising.
Visit www.eastridingtheatre.co.uk for more details. “Hamlet” runs until Saturday 15 October