Hamlet (1985): Young Vic Theatre
PRINCIPAL CAST: Jonathan Burn (Claudius); Heather Canning (Gertrude); Michael Cronin (Polonius); Matthew Marsh (Hamlet); Natasha Richardson (Ophelia); Andrew Secombe (Horatio).
This production was staged in February 1985.
"This modern-dress production by David Thacker, following last year's Othello and Macbeth at the same theatre, is rich in excellent scenes. Intelligent details express unspoken thoughts and hte initial thrust of the plot is clearly put across. If the production tails away after the gravediggers leave, this is partly due to the low-pitched, almost confessional tone that now takes over....Black scaffolding across the rear of the stage serves as the battlements and suggests the watch-towers of a modern totalitarian state. Most of the action is set in the central area, often with the characters virtually enclosed within a circle of palace chairs. The play has been slightly pruned but its language left unaltered." ~ Jeremy Kingston, The Times, 7 February 1985
"However you slice the cake at £3.95 a ticket the Young Vic currently offers the best theatre value in London. They are giving a 3-3/4-hour Shakespeare Hamlet...in a clean, vigorous production with an interesting young prince and a quite remarkable Ophelia...The producion is in a small house and in modern dress - all uniforms and lounge suits. This diminishes the feeling of an awesomely squalid court and a corrurpt Denmark. It domesticates the tragedy to drawing-room size. The Prince and his sweetheart become discordant moderns. Claudius is less a murderer-king than an unctious uncle spying on them...What is lost in grandeur is gained in immediacy....the director, David Thacker, has here staged the best Shakespeare at the Young Vic for years." ~ John Barber, "Hamlet to treasure", Daily Telegraph, 7 February 1985