Welcome! This is your first free article. Get more free articles when you sign up with your email.


“A production of clarity”

Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre is back in York for the summer, with the central Clifford’s Tower site playing host to this pop-up venue and its community of food huts, drinks stalls and souvenir shops.

With wood chippings underfoot and a faux olde-worlde feel, there’s a danger it could all seem a bit gimmicky. The quality of Damian Cruden’s production of Hamlet therefore comes as a pleasant surprise.

Sara Perks’ gorgeous costumes set the tone; her designs are historically appropriate but have a restrained, contemporary elegance. The set is similarly pared-back, perhaps as a practical necessity as Twelfth Night, Henry V and The Tempest are also playing in rep throughout the summer period.

David Oakes plays Hamlet with natural ease: he is clearly comfortable with the cadences of the language and he conveys meaning well. Marcello Cruz also impresses as Laertes, as confident vocally as he is in movement. The duel between the two characters (fight direction by Jonathan Holby) is thrilling and expertly executed.

Roles often play to the actors’ strengths. Antony Bunsee amuses as an energetic Player King and Fine Time Fontayne’s pantomime experience comes through as he portrays the ghost and a gravedigger. Meanwhile, Ophelia (Serena Manteghi) could almost be a modern teenager, huffing and sassily answering back.

There’s nothing especially radical here and the pacing occasionally drags, especially before the interval. But Cruden’s direction brings clarity and cohesion to a challenging play with a large cast.

Related to this Review

A Midsummer Night's DreamA Midsummer Night's Dream

Production Details
Production nameHamlet
VenueRose Theatre
StartsJune 26, 2019
EndsAugust 31, 2019
Running time3hrs 5mins
AuthorWilliam Shakespeare
ComposerChristopher Madin
DirectorDamian Cruden
Set designerSara Perks
Costume designerSara Perks
Lighting designerPaul Pyant
Sound designerYvonne Gilbert
CastAntony Bunsee, Clare Corbett, David Oakes, Fine Time Fontayne, Hannah Francis-Barker, Leandra Ashton, Marcello Cruz, Serena Manteghi
Stage managerBen Millerman
ProducerLunchbox Theatrical Productions
VerdictContemporary flashes enhance a traditional staging at York’s Rose Theatre pop-up
Add New Comment
You must be logged in to comment.
Natalie Douglas

Natalie Douglas

Natalie Douglas

Natalie Douglas

Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue

Invest in The Stage today with a subscription starting at just £3.98
The Stage
© Copyright The Stage Media Company Limited 2020
Linked In