There was a great deal to laugh about in this production. More impressive, though, was the way it left the audience smiling afterwards. This was a Midsummer with heart as well as humour - a most rare vision indeed...
Few plays explore the rich dramatic potential of living death as explicitly as Thomas Middleton’s The Lady's Tragedy (or, The Second Maiden’s Tragedy, as the play is sometimes known), a tragedy that in the first three acts alone presents suicide, grave-robbing, defiled corpses, and ghosts. Middleton did *not* do these things by halves.
For a Senecan-styled tragedy of inordinate bloodshed, things work out remarkably well for the characters who survive John Marston’s 1602 Antonio’s Revenge...
Sometimes a play can be so callous, so poorly-judged, so utterly tone-deaf that one isn't sure whether to laugh or cry. On this occasion, however, my mind is rather made up.
Does Branagh's "Hamlet" offer audiences the most complete and compelling version of the Ghost to be put to film. I think so.
Friends, readers, countrymen - lend me your ears! In what follows I will attempt to link the tragedy of Julius Caesar to: a grammar school education and rhetorical devices, the death of Queen Elizabeth, the lives of a penniless troupe of actors, early modern medical theory, and tenuous references to Donald Trump’s “alternative facts”. Let’s see how this goes.
Critics are starting to come around to the idea that the "Bad Quarto" of "Hamlet" may have something worthwhile to offer after all - and it's a good thing too!