Last Thursday in the run up to our show at the Theatre Royal, a group of Spitfire band members took the evening off and went to see The Discarded Nut Theatre Company's production of Hamlet.
There are so many different versions of Hamlet, so we were intrigued to see where this production would take the audience. Some of our Spitfire group had read the play at school or university, some of us had never experienced the play in any form, and some of us had been made to watch the Mel Gibson version over and over again...basically, we did not know what to expect.
We were not disappointed. Noel Jones and Harriet Morris created a brand new world for Hamlet, seamlessly transitioning the action to a modern day setting. It worked beautifully; the Shakespearean language was easily digestible thanks to the direction, production and the skill of the actors. Ed Morris took on the role of Hamlet and truly made it his own. Morris had the audience questioning all the way through the play whether Hamlet was suffering from madness prompted by grief, or if he was taking everyone for a ride in order to seek his revenge. The emotion that Ed brought to the stage was harrowing; the juxtaposition between his screaming frustration and the gentle nuances and quiet moments of reflection lead to the total captivation of the audience. I've never seen some of Shakespeare's most famous monologues delivered in such a calm and understated way, but Noel Jones' direction and Ed Morris' control meant they were hard hitting and powerful without cliches.
The entire cast offered exceptional performances and worked incredibly well as an ensemble, but special mention goes to the fantastic Will Pickering as both the Gravedigger and Lucianus who delivered moments of comedic lightness and sheer joy, and Matthew Honey as Laertes who gave an incredibly intense performance that was heartbreaking to watch.
The set was beautifully indicative of a battleground and the rich red fabrics were reminiscent of the murder of Claudius, ensuring that it was always in the back of our minds.
It was a phenomenal interpretation of one of Shakespeare's most famous plays. You can find out more about the Discarded Nut Theatre Theatre here: http://www.discardednut.co.uk/.