REVIEW: Hamlet, Kings Theatre, Southsea

Nicholas Limm in Hamlet. Picture: George Riddell

Nicholas Limm in Hamlet. Picture: George Riddell

Building work on the new theatre

The Kings opens up its wartime secrets

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Touted as ‘Shakespeare for the Game of Thrones generation’, Icarus Theatre Collective’s production of Hamlet took risks to revamp the Bard’s most renowned play – some with greater success than others.

The set is impressive, with mock-marble steps leading up to two thrones against the backdrop of a giant Danish flag. Fur cloaks, fake blood, and female warrior-women all strive to bring a contemporary appeal and are for the most part successful in doing so.

Nicholas Limm plays the titular role with a distinctive voice suited to Shakespearian prose.

Like much of the ensemble cast, his performance grew stronger as the play progressed. The nine-reduced- to-eight strong cast proficiently switched between multiple roles, particularly Kerry Gooderson as the innocent yet troubled Ophelia.

Purists are likely to take issue with the reworking of some material, particularly the famed ‘To be, or not to be’ soliloquy. Lewendel’s directorial decision to have character’s soliloquys echoed by plain-clothed confidants was a risk that sadly did not pay off. Attempting to bring

a visual element to the inner struggles of the mind, the sharing of Hamlet’s most famous lines detracted from what should have been Limm’s most powerful moment.

Despite this, the second half ended strongly. Impressive sword choreography and powerful acting achieved what the play set out to do – viscerally and emotively bring Shakespeare to a new generation.

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