"He's muscular, curious, hungry, but each slip on a banana peel here is more fatal than comedic"
When Marcellus notes that there is something rotten in the state of Denmark, Horatio could well reply that Damien Ryan, and not heaven, will direct/guide it.
Ryan's 2012 production of Hamlet for his own Sport For Jove company proved so successful it had return seasons the next year at Seymour Centre and Riverside Theatres.
In this production for Bell Shakespeare, the last stop of a national tour, a thickly porous wooden lattice facade divides the stage.
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It allows for some whiz-bang technology to be showcased (better establishing Ryan's "political thriller" framing for the production) and by extension a great Rosencrantz and Guildenstern gag, some beautiful bedroom scenes, and a makeshift jungle gym for Josh McConville's Hamlet, who in his search for what makes man descends into madness.
He's muscular, curious, hungry, but each slip on a banana peel here is more fatal than comedic (and on fatalities, credit must be given to fight and movement director Nigel Poulton, who has orchestrated the most thrilling sword fight we have ever seen on a stage).
Julia Ohannessian, Catherine Terracini and Philip Dodd, all in multiple roles, work hard and well to offset the tragedy with a few laughs, though Dodd's Polonius seems to be played to fit the gag scene by scene, the character seeming inconsistent as a result.
Sean O'Shea's Claudius sits well with unease atop this world of high-tech surveillance, the right mix of smart, charisma, and a touch of eccentricity.