To be, or not to be? That is the question currently hanging over the Sydney Opera House as Bell Shakespeare’s Hamlet hits the stage bringing scintillating scenes of deceit, duplicity, deception, and treachery to begging audiences.
Industry heavyweight, Peter Evans, Artistic Director at the Bell Shakespeare Company has done an outstanding job at getting the best from his red-hot cast and Creative Team in this three-hour epic.
Hamlet is notorious for tragedy, pursuits of power, betrayal, and leadership coups. Evans’ rendition has onlookers engrossed and immersed in these themes as they playout, dramatically, before unblinking eyes.
Harriet Gordon-Anderson plays the wily, light-footed protagonist, Hamlet, and captures the complexity of the role by effortlessly conveying an entire gamut of emotion from grief, cunning, hubris, adolescent playfulness, and love and friendship.
The role of Hamlet is traditionally played by a male, though, any actor looking to outperform Gordon-Anderson in this role will have their work cut out for them. Gordon-Anderson transcended gender last light in a flawless performance.
Gordon-Anderson is well-supported by Rose Riley, in Ophelia, and Jack Crumlin, in Laertes. Ray Chong Nee is the domineering Claudius who’s intimidating, ominous and calculating villainy adds the perfect amount of foreboding to the play. However, it is Harriet Gordon-Anderson who received a standing ovation before the curtains came down on the enigmatic show.
Though minimalistic, the set and backdrop of pine-trees and falling snow adds a haunting loneliness to the scenes of madness, and self-loathing as characters grapple with their plight; images and footage projected on to the backdrop add an artistic je ne sais quoi to the play that will have audiences talking for days!
Overall, the cast and Creative Team have done exceedingly well to carefully craft this performance whilst capturing the subtly and minutiae of Shakespeare’s humour and prose whilst contrasting it against the famed nefarious concepts that characterise Hamlet.
Great for drama, great for a laugh, and great for Sydney. Bravo.