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Reworked revenge in Sincera’s Hamlet



Review by Emma Whitelaw

THE play that need little, if any, introduction has been given a modern overhaul by UK theatre company, Sincera Productions. Possibly the most quoted of all Shakespeare’s works, Hamlet is the intellectually complex tale of trickery, betrayal, murder and suspense.

The current production showing at Cockpit Theatre is simply sublime! Shakespeare’s classic characters are given new life by the overwhelming talent of the academically strong cast, a surprising number of which have studied at the renowned Ecole de Theatre Jacques Lecoq.

In short, Hamlet is the tale of revenge most high. Upon returning from his studies in Germany, Hamlet attends his father’s funeral only to find that within a couple of months his mother has moved from weeping widow to blushing bride when she marries none other than his uncle and successor to the throne, Claudius.

His father’s ghost appears to him one night and informs Hamlet that it was Claudius that murdered him. Upon hearing this, an enraged Hamlet vows revenge.

Fearing his father’s vision may indeed be the work of the devil he waits until he has hard evidence before he avenges his father’s death.

James Davis is just brilliant as the Dane. His portrayal of Hamlet is exquisitely multi-faceted. He brings an almost comic undertone to the character’s feigned madness, yet holds Hamlet’s heart rendering wretchedness with an equal fixation.

Another noteworthy performance would be that given by Sophie Hunter. Her Ophelia is most commendable, encompassing every bit the fragility of her heroine’s love-torn heart.

Sarah Jane Woverson, too, gave an equally magnificent performance as Hamlet’s almost incestuous mother.

The set design was also stunning. The stage itself is a black canvas but is given a third dimension through the innovative use of props and lighting. It proved outstandingly effective given the simplicity.

And the costuming! Well it is just fabulous, never before have I seen such an imaginative use of foam. I particularly liked the enormous ensemble for Claudius and the outrageous use of pom poms for the female characters.

The Cockpit Theatre, although a bit out of the way for those travelling by Tube, is an excellent space. A space which I would argue has been put to excellent use by director, Dylan Lowthian.

As bold, as intelligent and as wickedly comic as Shakespeare could ever be!

Hamlet by William Shakespeare. Presented by Sincera Productions. Directed by Dylan Lowthian. Starring James Davis, Philip Desmeules, Sarah Jane Wolverson, Andrew Keatley, Sophie Hunter, Bertold Wiesner, Alistair Gillyatt, Vanessa Faye Stanley and Jonathan Young. March 29 to April 2 at Cockpit Theatre, Gateforth Street, London NW8 8EH. Box office 020 7258 2925.

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