Friday, November 18, 2011

Hamlet -Review- Star and Shadow

Star and Shadow
Bubble and
17 November 2011

As previously mentioned in my blog, I am a bit of a novice to Shakespeare and his scribblings. I never got past full stops and paragraphs at school, to get into the the higher class to learn about literature and the art of appreciating his writing. It has only since I have been doing this (over a year) that I am really starting to get a 'feel' for him and his words. Not that I always 'get' what is thrust upon me when watching/reviewing Shakespeare. Sometimes it can be a bit of a heavy task, to decipher what is going on, and to keep up with the dialogue, but God loves a trier. I love the whole idea that somebody from centuries ago has made a magnificent mark upon the theatrical world, that people clamour to see his plays.
People have certainly clamoured along tonight to see this Bubble and Squeek production of The Bards' most famous play. I have never been to The Star and Shadow before, never seen Hamlet before, so was in for a night of double treats.
If like me, you need to catch up on what the play is all about, then let me help you. The play which is set in Denmark, is the tale of Prince Hamlet, who wants revenge on his Uncle Claudius. Claudius has murdered Hamlet's father (King Hamlet), and taken his widow, Gertrude as his wife. The play has lots of involvement with apparitions, mental health issues, family loyalty, grief, treachery and that all important revenge.
Now as I have said before I am a newbie at all of this, so a few scenes were lost on me (I have since looked over some study notes, and I think I may have it for the next time!), maybe I was overwhelmed by the serious nature of the play (my journey into Shakespeare has been the more milder of his plays), contrasting with the smallness of the venue. I am not qualified enough to say whether every part was played perfectly, or the scenes were executed to a RSC standard, but I do know fantastic acting and a team that bonds wonderfully on stage.
Nazim Kourgli, playing our leading man, Hamlet, was commanding in his role of the embittered son, out to avenge his fathers murder, he played the madness card very well, with some great mirth thrown in. Some outstanding scenes with his on stage mother (the Queen) played by Melanie Dagg, made the whole learning curve for me, very worthwhile. Dagg, was fantastic as the woman in the middle, the caring mother, but the 'how on earth could she do that' tempress.
In the play Steven Langley does the scheming very well, when faced with the consequences of his actions as Claudius, he came out shining, as shining as his tunic that he wore on stage.
Eddie McNamee played the inbetweener Polonius, again he was bold on stage, but think the raging cold maybe got the best of him, as his voice was wavering a little, this could have looked as tho a few lines were fluffed, but I will give him the benefit of the doubt.
Everybody else on stage, made this a winner in my eyes, yes I didn't understand everything that was on offer, but what I did, was fantastic...a right royal triumph.
The venue although small lent itself superbly to this production. I love a play that involves all of the space that it has been catered for. The stairs leading to the live band area (a great medieval score, very much blended in well with the happenings on the night) made for some great fight scenes, and the door that we all entered the cinema, made for a great exit for the players and the wounded.
This review won't get any bums on seats as the run at the Star and Shadow was only for two night, but if you happen to see Bubble and Squeek on an entertainment list (this is going on a nationwide tour soon), then please go and see them, as it will be a solid performance. Shakespeare in the wonderfully cool, Star and Shadow cinema, was a blast, I recommend thoroughly.

Michael Hunter.

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