Hamlet can often seem like a play in danger of being over-done. With that said, through change and adaptation, this production achieves a fresh reinvigoration that is essential for a modern take on the classical canon. Director Amy Leach delivers a memorable production of the Shakespearean standard with the re-gendering of the central characters Hamlet, Horatio and Polonius.
Traditionally, the role of Hamlet is one of the most difficult in all of
Nevertheless, Parr cuts a fine Hamlet. She is playful, with youthful angst, whilst being tear-wrenchingly stoic in the death scene. Parr’s Hamlet is only slightly shaky in the second
Parr’s re-gendered Hamlet is
The re-gendering is not the only innovative part of Leach’s production. Even before the actors appear on stage, it is clear that this production is going to be unusual. The set (designed by Haley Grindle) is comprised of two
This, however, does not detract anything from the play, in this production it seems to make the play less needlessly complicated. In fact, this pared-back production emphasizes the talent of its minimal cast, especially that of the stand-out performance by Simona Bitmate as an anxious, doubtful and genuinely disturbed Ophelia. The only underdeveloped part of the play is perhaps the same-sex relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia, which seems hastily touched on. But overall, this imaginative and fast-paced new take on the Shakespearean classic makes for a riveting few hours of theatre.
Image credit: https://leedsplayhouse.org.uk