Hamlet (2005): Haymarket Theatre, Basingstoke
CAST INCLUDED: Amelda Brown (Gertrude); Paul Greenwood (Polonius); Miriam Hughes (Ophelia); Jack Laskey (Hamlet); Joseph Marcell (Claudius).
The production ran from 16 September - 8 October 2005. Information taken from reviews; may be incomplete.
"Just as Shakespeare was the first director to present Shakespeare in contemporary dress, military coups have been a contemporary feature of the world about us since time began. John Adams' production of Hamlet is therefore at once both contemporary in vision yet in a more traditional sense neither does it break new ground. I do not mean this in a derogatory way - Adams has pulled out the stops to make his controversial mark on this Hamlet. His interpretation brings a different perspective to the ever present military threat, perhaps all the more sinister since audiences can identify easily today with armed soldiers protecting a city rather than armoured knights protecting a castle. In a similar way Adams has fashioned his ghost from spirits of war-torn atrocities who prophecise Hamlet's revenge for his father's death. Equally contentious is Janet Bird's set. Headquarters to the Danish royal family, it is a tired but grand art deco style hotel whose staircase and lifts are styled in mahogany classical forms and provide puzzling yet interesting exits and entrances for the players. The exterior scenes fit snugly onto the stone mansion house staircase or use the protuding apron as queen's bedroom, graveside and fencing platform....Joseph Marcell gives a good classical performance as Claudius..." ~ Julie Watterston, "Hamlet review at Haymarket Theatre Basingstoke", The Stage, 21 September 2005
"Nothing [about the West Yorkshire Playhouse Twelfth Night] feels gimmicky. Would that the same could be said of John Adams's zesty Basingstoke Hamlet, which has a number of good things going for it, chiefly Jack Laskey's lanky, diffident lead, but gets far too carried away with itself. Multiple blood-bespattered zombies instead of Hamlet's ghost? Exits and entrances by lift in this peculiar, oak-panelled country hotel version of Elsinore? And a Claudius, played by Joseph Marcell (best known over here for his butler in the TV series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air), who looks as out of place as Kofi Annan at an Agatha Christie convention? Come off it." ~ Dominic Cavendish, "A tale of north and south, of sea and zombies", Daily Telegraph, 22 September 2005