I got to see a RSC production on Wednesday night, it was by chance a week ago we were walking past the local cinema and saw they were beaming it like to local cinemas. We hastily brought tickets without finding out anything about this particular production.
We when we arrived on the night it started with an interview with the director who spoke about producing Hamlet with a West African twist. I have to say my heart sunk, not that it was connected with West Africa but because I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to Shakespeare, I have still haven’t got over the production when Maxine Peak played Hamlet (I’m required to state my wife disagrees and thought she was amazing).
However, I’m surprised to say it really worked, mostly due to the great casting. It didn’t matter that is was Denmark with African drums and some African colour and dress. I’m trying to think why it was so good, there were some brilliant actors, my favourite was Cyril Nri who played Polonius but Paapa Essiedu was an excellent Hamlet. Some of the lines where delivered with great comic timing, which you often don’t see with Hamlet.
It was a great play and I shall try to be more open about less traditional versions of Shakespeare although I don’t care what my wife’s says Maxine Peak was not a good choice for Hamlet.