Hamlet (2002): West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds
PRINCIPAL CAST: Christopher Eccleston (Hamlet); Brigit Forsyth (Gertrude); Neil McKinven (Horatio); Kevin McMonagle (Polonius); Maxine Peake (Ophelia); Malcolm Scates (Claudius); Chook Sibtain (Laertes).
This production ran from 25 October - 30 November 2002.
"Ian Brown sets this Hamlet in a 1930s kingdom edigly steeling itself for war, where restless searchlights scour the ground and every door is fitted with a spy-window. This Denmark is a prison indeed." ~ Jeremy Kingston, "Elsinore's very own Incredible Sulk", The Times, 8 November 2002
"Angela Davies's spare, epic design consists of a vast wooden stage, backed by oppressively high wooden walls lined with a dozen doors, each with a spy hole, as in a prison. There is no furniture in this Elsinore, no comfort, and you never know who is lurking behind the portals. Tim Mitchell's superb lighting design, which rakes the sepulchral gloom with harsh shafts of light, and Avshalom Caspi's sawing, string-driven score greatly add to the atmosphere of ominous tension." ~ Charles Spencer, "Descent into darkness", Daily Telegraph, 8 November 2002
"Searchlights sweep the audience and then settle on the stage - a large, empty, wood-panelled space that is accessed by many doors with small glass peepholes....Ian Brown's Elsinore is a scary place. It is like something out of an early 1920s German movie....Laertes [Chook Sibtain] is ambushed by a gust of grief for his dead sister that turns him from dutiful revenger to truly tragic figure." ~ Lyn Gardner, Guardian, 8 November 2002
"Chook Sibtain makes us unusually aware of Laertes" ~ John Gross, "Nothing sweet about this tough prince", Sunday Telegraph, 10 November 2002
"Chook Sibtain makes a fiery, impassioned Laertes in contrast to Malcolm Scates's silkily dangerous Claudius." ~ Michael Coveney, Daily Mail, 8 November 2002, in Theatre Record XXII, Issue 23