Hamlet

UT Serveris Seges Theatre Company is a community drama group which has evolved from Sandbach School Theatre. It composes former pupils, colleagues and other interested individuals. Previous Edinburgh productions include Amadeus and The Madness of George III.

This production is staged in the Great Hall of the Royal College of Physicians. From the beginning, the lights are kept low and there is mist in the air, which remains throughout the play. This is a dark and gloomy production of a dark and gloomy play. The stage is composed of raised black blocks, and the scenery is also black, as are most of the costumes. Hamlet wears a long leather coat over what appears to be black jeans; it feels like it shouldn’t work but somehow it seems appropriate.

This is a straightforward production of the play, basically as written by Shakespeare. Most of the characters take their parts very seriously indeed and the only light relief is provided by Polonius, who is treated very much as a clown and a fool, particularly by Hamlet. Hamlet himself behaves rather like a petulant and sulky schoolboy, rather than as a brooding prince. Although he has good reason to distrust and even hate Claudius, for having killed his father, he gives the impression that he would have been miserable under any circumstances. He shows no real guilt over the death of Polonius, treats Ophelia appallingly and happily consigns Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to their deaths, even though they are his good friends. It’s probably just as well he never became King of Denmark.

Although the Great Hall is a beautiful setting for the play and looks truly regal, the acoustics are not wonderful, so concentration is required. On the whole, well worth seeing.

Reviews by Alan Chorley

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The Blurb

The group that brought acclaimed productions of 'Amadeus' and 'Madness of George III' to this spectacular venue return with a highly-charged 'Hamlet' under John Lonsdale's direction. Be enthralled by the theatricality of this portrayal of Shakespeare's tragic hero.

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