Hamlet (1995): Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh
PRINCIPAL CAST: Sean Baker (Claudius); Max Gold (Horatio); Russell Hunter (Polonius); Louise Ironside (Ophelia); Tom McGovern (Hamlet); Matthew Pidgeon (Laertes); Ann Louise Ross (Gertrude).
This production ran from 10 November - 2 December 1995.
"Hamlet requires an overall concept of the play and its world. This production has that, brilliantly realised in Robin Donn's design. The stage is bare, the floor a steeply tilted wooden construction and at the back a plain flat, with two rows of rectangular openings, suggestive of the play's different levels. A huge sheet projected clouds and other images to establish tone and atmosphere. Matthew Scott's music completes the Spartan, meta-physical quality of the production....Tom McGovern makes a creditable and credible Hamlet, full of angst and intellectual impatience, agile and beautifully fluid in his movements. Where the production gets it right, the humanity of the characters comes through, often lost in more stylised productions. Kenny Ireland's direction keeps us in touch with the emotions of the play. But round the edges, the production falls down badly. Sean Baker's Claudius is unbelievably stilted and wooden, both in presence and delivery and Max Gold is such an unresponsive lump as Horatio that it is hard to imagine Hamlet having any time for him." ~ Joy Hendry, Guardian, 28 November 1995
"Kenny Ireland's excellent production crackles with intelligence and ripples with feeling. Russell Hunter is a dignified Polonius: a politician and operator just beginning to go downhill. He is a devoted father who loves his children, and his children love him, too: the leave-taking scene is full of affection even though Laertes (Matthew Pidgeon) and Ophelia (Louise Ironside) have clearly heard his precepts before. Tom McGovern's Hamlet is a prickly, saturnine, self-contained young man, dangerous, agile and intelligent; his humour is sardonic, sombre, almost bitter....This is one of the best classical productions I have seen in Scotland." ~ Sunday Times, 19 November 1995