Review: Hamlet at Wokingham TheatreBy Jon Nurse
October 30, 2012
Thursday, October 18
The tragic tale of Hamlet is one of the most performed works in existence – a moving and well-known account of the troubled prince of Denmark.
This latest re-imagining of William Shakespeare’s iconic work is a brooding affair that succeeds in pushing its audience to flagrant discomfort as Hamlet expresses his inner turmoil and plunges into madness with vivid movement, throwing himself around the stage like a child in a tantrum.
The titular role has made and broken careers in the past and young Chris Wilder deserves rich praise for taking to the role with such bravery.
The former Youth Theatre member cuts through the infamous lines with absolute assurance and captures the desperation of the prince at the moment he is spooked by a royal ghoul – a moment magnified by chilling background noise.
A couple of the minor characters don’t perform on a par with Wilder’s heady Hamlet, but this is amateur theatre after all.
Setting the drama in post-war Europe fits well, with Hamlet’s uncle announcing his arrival on a King’s Speech style microphone.
The play’s shorter version also fits the expectations of a modern audience.
Final praise is definitely due to Megan Purves, who is spellbinding as out-of-luck love interest Ophelia.
Her transformation is the most striking of the main characters as she does her deranged best, challenging Wilder’s Hamlet in the madness stakes.
Overall, an accomplished and enjoyable take on the Shakespeare classic with much promise on display from Wokingham’s Wilder.