Finding a new take on one of Shakespeare’s great tragedies is never going to be easy but the Icarus Theatre Collective do a fine job with this wonderfully realised production of Hamlet.

Giles Roberts takes the title role as the tormented and grieving Prince of Denmark, establishing a compelling presence at the centre of this powerful play directed by Max Lewendel.

He is supported by an impressive cast, particularly Nick Holbeck as the moody and vengeful Laertes, John Paton as the conniving and murderous Claudius and Loren O’Dair whose Ophelia in the grips of gradual psychological breakdown is both subtle and moving.

John Eastman is excellent as Polonius (he also plays the ghost). Julia Munrow plays Gertrude as a woman trapped by her own duplicitous behaviour while Tobias Deacon and Omar Ibrahim offer some light relief as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.   

With actress and fight director Dani McCallum as Horatio there’s an interesting gender twist thrown into the mix. 

 The text has been carefully pared back and with the play running at around two-and-a half hours, this is a production that cuts to the essence of the Bard’s classic tale of greed, deception, murder and violent retribution.

Intriguingly in the light of the circumstances of the death of Osama Bin Laden it addresses a very topical subject indeed:Does revenge justify murder?  

*Icarus Theatre Collective’s production of Hamlet plays Lighthouse in Poole until Saturday May 7

Jeremy Miles

© Jeremy Miles 2022