What a show I was privileged to see last evening! Though you might have heard that William Shakepeare's Hamlet was just a redux of Kyd's production, I encourage everyone to seek out this new version. Shakespeare has tapped new ground in the portrayal of this classic story and he does not disappoint.
The same man who brought you Julius Caesar just a few years ago has turned his hand to tragedy once more after a couple of comedies. While Julius Caesar portrayed a tragedy of what happens to a man of ambition and follows Brutus through a good man doing an unspeakable act for love of his country, this new play covers territory which delves into what affects revenge has on his soul. And yet it is not merely a story of revenge as you may remember from Kyd's Spanish Tragedie or indeed Kyd's Hamlet, which was an oh so paler version.
The playwright has captured the nuances of the Danish Prince as none other could. Melancholy, and tortured, Hamlet is not nearly as focused on taking action as you may have seen in Kyd's play.
Burbage's typical and wonderful acting style, takes on the Princely role as if it was made for him. I suffered as he suffered, grieving over the loss of his father and his mother's betrayal when she married his Uncle Claudius. Burbage left me wondering whether he himself has skirted the edges of madness, so great is his immersion into the role.
I encourage you to take in the play at your earliest opportunity and answer the question for yourself whether Prince Hamlet is indeed mad, or if he is merely faking it in order to exact his revenge. As I said, Kyd's play has nothing on this one. Though Shakespeare keeps the essence of the story, he plummets the depths of character, exploring the varied of lunacy from the poor Ophelia, how tragic, even now she brings tears to my eyes, to the title character's struggle with the great questions of life.
Don't delay, schedule your visit to The Globe. If you do get a chance to see it, please post back here and let me know what you thought.