Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Theatre: Hamlet

William Shakespeare

Barking Gecko Theatre Company
Performed by WAAPA Third Year Acting students
Directed by John Sheedy
Designed by Patrick James Howe
Sound design by James Luscombe
Subiaco Arts Centre
Until March 22

James Sweeny and Grace Smibert
John Sheedy’s fresh, energised Hamlet shows its hand early. In its opening tableau, orderlies mop a bleak institutional common room, with its linoleum floor, green wall tiles and neon strip lighting. Mantovani’s saccharine, soothing ’50s hit, Charmaine, is playing. A green, illuminated hospital sign on the wall reads Helsingør. When Hamlet appears, he’s in dressing gown and trackpants, a patient’s tag on his wrist.
Now where have we heard that tune before? Where have we seen that room? Where have we seen this damaged prince?
Such direct and pervasive evocations (One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, with a more than passing nod to Marat/Sade) might rankle. In this case, though, they work so well and consistently that, unusually for referential treatments like this, they liberate rather than bind the action and the performances.
In both its own terms, and those it was designed to achieve, it succeeded entirely.  

Link here to the complete review in The West Australian 

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