Articles Comments

David Porter » Reviews » Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich

Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 18 October 2008

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Hamlet is a tragedy of failure, dramatic irony, characters’ true actions revealed and the play within a play.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern is the brilliant offshoot, developing two minor characters into a study of life and death, the waiting in between, the searching for meaning.

They have been sent for. “Is this it, then?” is the frequent cry.

Notoriously difficult to play, it’s a masterpiece of clever manipulation of our language, and the often gallows humour is just hilarious.

It’s an ambitious choice for the Maddermarket, but under the imaginative direction of Peter Sowerbutts with Jenny Dewsbury, it works on many levels.

Audiences have to listen hard and some knowledge of Hamlet helps, but is not essential.

The play also deals with the nature of acting and the art of the performer, especially in demonstrating death in its myriad guises.

The director himslef stars as the players’ leader and he is spot on with timing, comic gesture and facial contortion.

The central protagonists are played by David Blood and Trevor Burton who clearly relish the verbal sparring they sustain to the tragic end. “There is an art in the building of suspense” – and they carry it off well. Wit, sarcasm, despair, wisecracks and profound observations – they’re all there.

It’s a fair-length evening, but the reward is a stimulating study into the purposes of our lives. Lots to think about.

Filed under: Reviews

Comments are closed.