Hamlet (1992): Riverside Studios, London
PRINCIPAL CAST: David Burke (Claudius); Michael Byrne (Polonius); Christopher Fairbank (Horatio); Julia Ford (Ophelia); Geraldine McEwan (Gertrude); Adrian Rawlins (Laertes); Alan Rickman (Hamlet).
This production also played at the Nottingham Playhouse in October 1992; no other tour venues known.
"One of the strengths in this production...is the inter-connectedness of parts. Scenes overlap, Geraldine McEwan's Gertrude stays hunched in misery, although her own scene has ended and the dialogue has moved on to the next. This troubled court's inhabitants find themselves concerned onlookers, even when they have nothing to say....Giorgi Meskhishvili's set, a T-shaped metal balcony across the rear of the stage, gives Rickman further conversational chances. With Claudius praying down below, he walks along the balcony, commenting lightly, 'Now might I do it pat,' and has almost vanished at the other side before realising that yes, why not?...The play ends with Timothy Bateson's mould-breakingly sombre Osric, in bowler hat and spats, picking up the boots discarded by his new sovereign. Bateson played in the British premiere of Waiting for Godot and it looks like his Godot has come at last. Daniel York's boorish Fortinbras suggests the future will be grim indeed." ~ Jeremy Kingston, 'Poisoned love at a troubled court", The Times, 17 September 1992
"The designer Giorgi Meskhishvili has come up with a set that is a drearily familiar police state wasteland, with clattering metallic walkways, harsh white lights, and, more perplexingly, a beach littered with stones and driftwood....But productions have survived grim design concepts and silly costumes before now, and one waits with impatience for the arrival of Mr. Rickman....There is hardly a trace of Hamlet's wit and vitality, and though his sexual disgust in the harrowing, physically violent scenes with Ophelia and Gertrude is strongly presented, these are virtually the only moments when the actor rouses himself from his torpor." ~ Charles Spencer, "A Hamlet who gives up the ghost", Daily Telegraph, 17 September 1992
"Daniel York's Fortinbras is the usual conscienceless thug....Sturua's heavy stress on spiritual malaise virtually deprives this Hamlet of any capacity for action....Sturua's somewhat monotonous vision of the play, as a sermon on the emptiness of absolutism, is enlivened by a handful of performances. David Burke doubles effectively as a monstrous Claudius and a bookish, humanised ghost....But I feel that a specifically Georgian concept of Hamlet has been draped over a British cast like a cloak that does not fit its wearer." ~ Michael Billington, "Prince in a prison of the spirit", Guardian, 17 September 1992
"Nor does Daniel York's cyncial Fortinbras seem very subversive, since no one has laid any claim to idealism (Hamlet himself dies an anti-heroic death). It is hard not to wonder whether Rickman has been given the most stimulating and stable environment in which to nurture his prince." ~ Kirsty Milne, "The big cat yawns, but does not bite", Sunday Telegraph, 20 September 1992
"Fortinbras (Daniel York), earlier seen feeling up a passing Polish girl, takes the crown up at the end, but only to throw it negligently away. Denmark seems not a prison, but an unsuccessful rehabilitation centre." ~ John Peter, "Variations on a classic theme", Sunday Times, 20 September 1992