Hamlet Adam Cook directs Hamlet as a co-production with Queensland Theatre Company and as part of his Excess All Areas 2007 season for the State Theatre Company of South Australia. A few decades ago a Shakespeare play as part of the company’s annual program wasn’t seen as an excess at all but now it seems it is with Hamlet as the third Shakespeare play for the company in almost a decade.

As Shakespeare’s longest play, Hamlet is a tragic tale about difficult times. Prince Hamlet struggles to keep a sense of clear thinking and integrity in a world taken over by a murdering uncle, fratricide no less, and corruption. The actors bring out the struggle, portraying the ignorant or numb, the foolish or meddling, devious, conniving or of course, the vexed.

Prince Hamlet, played by Cameron Goodall, stands firmly at the helm, playing the seriousness of his dilemma with touches of inspired lightness. He builds a tantalizing rapport with Polonius, the poor meddling fool, bleeds the snakiness from his uncle/father Claudius and tears at his mother’s heart, as well as the besotted Ophelia’s. The audience is reeled into the grips of the story, where, still feeling secure in the safety of the auditorium, they empathize or point the finger depending. By the end of the first half, the audience is totally entangled and ready to be raced to the end of the play, which ends with a genteel kind of butchery, with death all over the stage.

This production of Hamlet can satisfy a whole range of audiences. From the newly initiated to the well seasoned, there is something for those fond and familiar with Shakespeare and for those perhaps still needing to exorcise their unfortunate high school experiences. The pictures painted for the audience could be now or in the past, giving the rich text a sense of presence. The set, a massive memorial to those who have died, stands as an imposing cenotaph to death. Whether inside or outside the castle walls, it presents a forte from which there is no escape, a fitting place for the death and darkness of the play. The costumes support this image with an eclectic mix of royalty and war, while the lights enhance and heighten the stony cold mood and the sound creeps in and out or announces to give a start. 

Hamlet is a great story. This version is clearly told and the performances make the Shakespearian language a pleasure to listen to and watch. Stand by Brisbane, here is a masterful play well told, as well as a fine night of entertainment.

State Theatre Company of South Australia and Queensland Theatre Company present
By William Shakespeare

Venue: The Dunstan Playhouse
Previews: Fri 30, Sat 31 Mar + Mon 2 Apr @ 7:30pm
Dates: 30 March – 21 April 2006
Times: Mon - Wed, 4-18 Apr @ 6.30pm. Thu - Sat, 5-21 Apr @ 7.30pm No show Good Friday  or Easter Monday. Also matinees.
Bookings: 131 246 or www.bass.net.au
Further Information: www.statetheatrecompany.com.au


Most read Adelaide reviews

The bewildering confusion between dream and reality begins before one takes one’s seat in the...

The cast of one is Robyn Nevin, and it was no surprise that her performance was riveting.

The revelation of this concert to me was that, yes, musicians, like audiences, have been starved...

What a Pulse the acrobats exhibited! What unanimity, what complicity in their formation and...

This long and interesting concert was structured around Schoenberg’s extraordinary setting of 21...