n Shakespeare in Southern Africa - Two Hamlets : essay and review

Volume 23, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-582X



The National Theatre UK's 2010 production of Hamlet, shot in high definition and shown in South African cinemas earlier this year, gives us a fully up-to-date Hamlet. Rory Kinnear, weedy and balding at 33, plays Hamlet. Artistic director of the National Theatre, Nicholas Hytner, directs. The production is set in a fictional modern-day dictatorship, and avoids textual adjustments to the quarto/folio composite we have inherited as the 'standard' (at least none that this odd-job scholar could spot). Denmark is quite obviously modern Britain. Hamlet slouches around in a hoodie, very much a citizen of David Cameron's "Broken Britain". He's well upset his dad is dead and his mum's shacked up with his uncle, ? This is a Hamlet we could imagine on the Tube, the contents of his desk in a box on his lap, a lay-off letter from Merrill Lynch stuffed untidily into the breast pocket of his crumpled suit. He yells obscenities at other passengers, cosmic injustice throbbing behind his eyes.

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