There’s a cartoon called ‘If Hamlet Was Written Today’ featuring Hamlet sitting in front of a computer – probably on Facebook – asking himself, “To like…or not to like…”
The genius of arguably the most famous play in the world is that it is timeless and can be appreciated by anyone, in any language – whether that be Elizabethans or Edwardians, Fijians or Facebookers.
It has such a good plot that it has been adapted into a ridiculous variety of films including: Disney animation (The Lion King), a spaghetti western (Johnny Hamlet) and a Bollywood crime drama (Haider). While the dialogue is probably the most quoted of any Shakespeare play.
Seizing on its constant topicality the Icarus Theatre Collective has billed its forthcoming take on Hamlet as, ‘Shakespeare for the Game of Thrones generation’. Complemented by a poster image of a crown dripping blood it’s a clever bit of marketing – guaranteed to draw the attention of a younger audience (there’s also a matinee production ideal for secondary schools) – but it also brings to the fore the essence of the play that is essentially an action-packed revenge drama steeped in murder most foul.
Icarus has good form in this brutal world view and in January scored two palpable hits at the Dugdale Centre in Enfield Town with its productions of The Trials of Galileo and At the Mountains of Madness. The first showed the astronomer contemplating his own mortality in the face of a hostile church while the latter was an atmospheric chiller about an Antarctic expedition gone wrong based on the HP Lovecraft horror.
Both took an uncompromising look at life and their slightly unusual subject matter was a perfect match for the adventurous company whose name is inspired by the ultimate risk-taker who flew too close to the sun.
Also, at a promised running time of just two-and-a-half hours (including an interval) this will be a far speedier version than your average Hamlet so there should be plenty of time to discuss it on social media later.
The question is…what’s not to like?
Article written by Jonathan Lovett | @Jonathanslovett
Hamlet at the Millfield Theatre on February 22 at 7.30pm and February 23 at 1.15pm and 7.30pm. For more details call the box office on 020 8807 6680.