A clumsy sacrifice

Luminous blue is the colour of 2022 Hamlet for the Guildford Shakespeare Company staged at Holy Trinity Church. Fluorescent in the touch of dusty air, polished in the impact with the aureate chancel, it turns at times into an unclouded red, altering the presence of the cross. Quite literally, as a spirit, an apparition, a ghost is where the plot comes to be.

Checkered stage set up in front of the altar, audience accommodated along the nave, this familiar non-theatrical venue, vouches for the site-responsive character of the company. GSC — founded by Matt Pinches and Sarah Gobran in 2006, has a solid community oriented nature, nourishing numerous educational projects.

Tom Littler`s production relies on some sort of common, everyday hardship, to build upon the Elsinore clan, beginning with the new regime`s Security Guards — dressed up in blue and retroreflective jacket, requesting Horatio to collect a paramount piece of evidence. Coming from behind the audience, the blue light of Old Hamlet (voiced by Edward Fox, father in real life of the leading actor), soon pierces the fourth wall, rounding it up.

Commonly tragic ordinary couple, despite wealthiness and manners, Claudius and Gertrude — middle-rank oligarchs?, consume their champagne around a coffin that will `uncommonly`, quite never, leave the stage, almost a `bar-like` board, around which to party. Satinized fabric wraps it up, echoing costumes — designed by Neil Irish. Royal adviser, and bishop, Polonius wears a collar with his common grey suit.

Freddie Fox`s Hamlet is pleasant, with his `overtones` and well-directed merry nuances, — when wearing a mitra to lead the `fishmonger` `s speech from a pulpit, when fist-bumping the (one and only) travelling player (a splendid Noel White). `Gigolo-like` in guise and attitude, this latter is captivating while `playing in the play` for the other `actors` who sit on the ground in front of him, turning backs to the audience, `audience in the audience`.

Ophelia (exquisite in eloquence Rosalind Ford) brings the `sober solemnity` of the holy locus in the flesh of the musical insertions — she performs Bach on a `floating` cello, and then transitions into the chapter of her madness with grace and virtuosity. So that when holding Yorick`s skull sudden comes his adulthood, the Prince`s infuriating incapacity gives way to a clumsy sacrifice in the heart of an ordinary tragedy. 

Seen on Vimeo on March 5 2022

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