Sneak Preview Review: HAMLET

by Lynn on May 26, 2015

in The Passionate Playgoer

At the Stratford Festival, Stratford, Ontario
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Antoni Cimolino
Designed by Teresa Przybylski
Lighting by Michael Walton
Sound by Thomas Ryder-Payne
Music by Steven Page
Starring: Tim Campbell
Jonathan Goad
Adrienne Gould
Seana McKenna
Tom Rooney
Mike Shara
Geraint Wyn Davies

A clear, revelatory production that goes like the wind and leaves you breathless.

Director Antoni Cimolino and his creative team have created a stark, spare production illuminating the moody, forbidding goings on in Denmark after King Hamlet suddenly dies. So many details are telling. Hamlet Sr. has died two months before but Gertrude, his widow, has quickly married Claudius (her brother-in-law). In their first scene Claudius is in a white military suit and Gertrude is in an iridescent red dress. She is hardly the mourning widow. It makes you certain Claudius and Gertrude were having an affair before her husband dies.

Hamlet of course is in black, appropriate for his mourning for his father. In Jonathan Goad we have a quit-witted, intelligent, passionate, impetuous Hamlet who is not so much indecisive as he is able to see both sides of a dilemma, both pro and con. It makes you wonder what kind of king he might have been.

In a scene Hamlet puts on Claudius’s crown and it’s so big for him that it falls down from his head and rests around his neck. He reveals his frustration by taking the crown, holding it in the air and saying, “I lack advancement.” Revelatory. And of course, shouldn’t the crown have come to him if his father dies and not his uncle? Something is truly ‘rotten in the state of Denmark.”

Adrienne Gould plays a delicate, sensitive Ophelia who must cope with her beloved brother leaving her and her father dying. She must also deal with returning her precious mementos from her troubled Hamlet and he telling her to “Get thee to a nunnery.” This scene is full of such passion, desperation and true love it leaves you heart-sore. I can’t remember a more vivid representation of this scene. No wonder the poor woman was driven mad. You see the detailed movement to madness in Gould’s meticulous performance.

Get thee to Stratford to see this gripping production. To Stratford, GO!

Full review broadcast on CIUT FRIDAY MORNING, 89.5 fm on Friday, May 29, 2015 from 9 am to 10 am.

Leave a Comment