Eddie Izzard’s Hamlet at Riverside Studios – Review

Contrary to what the critics say …

Eddie Izzard’s one person performance of Hamlet at the Riverside Studios has taken a bit of a pasting from the critics since it opened here, which is surprising because its New York run was extended three times due to its popularity.

Arifa Akbar in The Guardian wrote:

‘It is certainly a marathon achievement, but more a feat of memory (bar a few fumbles) than performance… wrestling with 23 Shakespearean roles on an empty stage, butts up against the limits of the form – or perhaps the limit of her own acting skills, which are badly exposed.’

Ouch!

Nothing daunted, Jacqui Shreeve, a woman of independent mind, went to see it and has given us her review.

Chiswick resident Jacqui Shreeve thoroughly enjoyed it

As a critic this is a first for me, but definitely not for Eddie Izzard – alone on stage performing the entire play of Hamlet.

This highly talented actor and comic is now to be referred to as She/her. Having read and ignored some rather negative reviews I decided to cycle to the Riverside theatre Hammersmith and check it out for myself.

I’m SO glad I did – her performance was extraordinary.

Shakespeare  can be challenging until you get used to the language, but with Mark Izzard’s (Eddie’s brother’s) adaptation she manages with incredible ease and humour to bring all the characters to life, including a wonderful interpretation of Rosencrantz and Guilderstern.

Eddie’s natural ability to communicate with an audience is certainly very much part of this production. She explains in the programme notes how Shakespeare’s own troupe played in the open air directly talking to the audience – who better to bring this off than Eddie herself.

The set design by Tom Piper is simplistic and highly effective.

At the opening of the second half, and in character, she walks deep in thought quietly through the audience, house lights still on till she reaches the proscenium arch at the side of the stage and momentarily pauses – as the music fades – the play continues to it ’s ultimate catastrophic scene!

Followed by a full standing ovation and, believe it or not, she then like me cycled home. Job done !!

Advice, go see it for yourself. Note to critics  “ours was a full house.“

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