I went to see Hamlet The Musical at the Richmond Theatre yesterday. I had heard only good things about it, so I was very excited to see it for myself.
It’s written by Alex Silverman, Timothy Knapman and Edward Jaspers and first premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe.
The Richmond Theatre is a lovely space and I had a perfect, unobstructed view from my seat in row J of the stalls.
As soon as the show started I knew I was going to love it. It is such an unique and absolutely hilarious take on the well-known story of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Who knew that Shakespeare works that well as a musical comedy?! There are some references to other musicals in it, e.g. Les Misérables and We Will Rock You, or a cheeky gravestone labelled “A.L.W. – Love Never Dies”.
There is an incredibly talented cast of six, most of them playing several different characters.
Jack Shalloo as Hamlet has great comic timing and had the audience on his side right from the beginning. I had seen him before in The Kissing Dance and Departure Lounge and once again I found his stage presence outstanding.
Mark Inscoe, who plays Claudius and The Ghost has an amazing voice. His song “My Overwhelming Capacity For Doing Good” was one of the highlights of the show for me.
The same goes for David Burt, who plays the Gravedigger, Polonius and Portinbras (a real live hero!). I was lucky enough to see him in Beyond The Gate and The Kissing Dance earlier this year and it’s always a joy to watch him on stage.
Virge Gilchrist as Gertrude/Gravedigger has a lovely voice as well and provided some wonderful comic moments. Her “There Is A Willow” was great.
Jess Robinson plays Ophelia, Horatio and Rosencrantz. I liked her in all parts, but the highlight for me was her Rosencrantz.
Gabriel Vick is a wonderful Laertes. Again, great comic timing. Both “The Strangely Spanish Tango” and “The Strangely French Tango” were superb. He also plays Guildenstern and worked so well with Robinson’s Rosencrantz.
The songs were really catchy and I’ve tried in vain to get “To Be Or Not To Be” out of my head. All in all, it reminded me a lot of Spamalot, and also Avenue Q, though to a lesser extent. It’s a similiar kind of humour, making fun of everything and everyone and not taking anything seriously. I love both these shows, so it’s not a bad thing at all.
This show is just another proof that you don’t have to venture into the West End to see first class musicals! I had a wonderful evening and left the theatre humming the songs and will definitely make a return visit while I’ve got the chance!
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