Writer: David Visick
Director: Tim Marriott
Thunderous sound effects dramatically open the show, broken by a humorous comment and the audience relax. The stage is bare apart from two wooden boxes, and two actors, but the stage is full, full of energy, exuberance and talent. Sharp, witty repartee flows seamlessly between Hamlet (Tim Marriott) and Yorick (Nicholas Collett). Hamlet’s dead father wants revenge for his murder, but how?
There are shades of, Rosencrantz and Guidenstern, Waiting For Godot, Stoppard, Monty Python, and many others. While this is centred on Shakespeare’s most famous tragedy, Hamlet, it wonderfully overflows with a plethora of references to many of the Bard’s plays and it is certainly no tragedy, more a triumph, a veritable love letter to Shakespeare.
References to world power, privilege and government, as true today as then and witty comments “Just because I’m dead am I supposed to take this lying down?” Great intensity of the moment and palpable frustration are displayed. There is a wonderful reversal of roles, Yorrick as the bard and Hamlet as the fool and the play on words is breath-taking.
It is easy to see why this is a Kenneth Branagh New Drama Writing Award Winner, David Visick is a wordsmith worthy of Willie. There is a wonderful partnership between the two actors; they bounce off each other like an old married couple. They are both award winners in their own right, both directors, producers and writers. Marriott was Director of Drama at Eastbourne College while Collett is no stranger to Shakespeare having worked with the RSC on numerous Shakespeare plays.
Any Shakespeare fan will adore this and those who are not, cannot fail to enjoy it. It is a theatrical joy from beginning to end, thoroughly recommended, hopefully to be seen again soon.
Reviewed on 26 August 2022