HARLOS PRODUCTIONS present HAMLET at the Bondi Pavilion.
HAMLET directed by David Ritchie for Harlos Productions has a small company of 8 actors playing, in a well edited text, a number of responsibilities. There are two scheduled actors to play Hamlet; Angela Bauer and Damien Ryan. This is a very lucid and slow unwinding of the text. It’s energy is gently expositional and ideal for students studying the play. I attended a performance of Damien Ryan as Hamlet. The performance is intelligent and clear. Re-assuring. There is great personable charm but it is a little too "held", controlled, and lacks the dramatic urgency of "discovery". Each moment and speech is "presented", rather than experienced as an expression of the needs of the dramatic moment of the events of the story and so lacks the vital energy that may lead to an audience’s transportation into the world of Denmark, where a ghostly figure has appeared demanding revenge for a most foul crime: regicide.
All of the actors are well prepared and assured and clear, it is just that the production lacks theatrical urgency. The best moments, for what I was looking for in the evening’s storytelling, occurred between Hamlet and Gertrude in the bedroom scene. Gertraud Ingeborg had an urgency and desperation about her character’s problems, and seemed to confront Damien Ryan with some real options to deal with. Another kind of vital life ignited, briefly, on the stage: the passionate dilemma between a mother and son in times of great stress.
The setting of the play in "an imaginary Denmark" with the contemporary right/neo-Nazi iconography does not seem to impact too much on the production and the choice of costume (Ailsa Paterson) should, as in the STC production of THE CRUCIBLE, encourage much discussion among the target audience as to its usefulness.
This is the third production that I have recently seen that have had young audiences as their principal target. The students who attend any of these production seem to me to be well served and will have quite a lot of stimulation to their studies. The RICHARD III at CarriageWorks is, as well, quite outstanding theatre for any audience.
Now playing until 30 May. Book by phone: 02 9958 8525, fax: 02 9357 6853 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.