Review: Hamlet by SUSU Theatre Group @ The Annex


TG have reminded us why Shakespeare is so famous, and why their performances are always worthwhile

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To be or not to be. To see or not to see. Now that is the question. See. Come see. – Eden Jack, Hamlet

For those who are not aware, Shakespeare’s Hamlet is an absolute bloodbath. The protagonist learns of his father’s murder and plots to f*** sh** up as a consequence, causing everyone he’s ever loved and known to go mad or die trying. Theatre Group used a very basic staging to let its talent shine, which is something that was incredibly successful.

Via Theatre Group

It was very good. You can tell how much effort everyone put into it. It was very intense.

-Tezni Williams

Firstly, I wanted to take this opportunity to give a huge praise to the crew behind these performances. Directors, producers, and tech all work together behind the scenes to create something that is truly magical. Hamlet’s directorial team of Liv Grindon and Pietro Andreotti have previously described this production as a ‘passion project’, and that much was instantly believable. Only those who truly love a bit of Shakespeare can bring such emotion out in each scene, and every emotion was brought out flawlessly. The huge team of producers managed to create some fabulous costumes and large set pieces (though one piece may have been slightly hideously distracting because it is genuinely horrible) as well as video content that played effortlessly alongside the drama onstage. I don’t recall ever seeing such a cluster-f of cool stuff all in one place, and I thank the Hamlet team for the chutzpah for giving it a go. For those going to see the show who don’t understand Shakespearean language, there are plenty of opportunities for you to catch up and be just as enthralled as any aficionado.

Via Theatre Group

Liv Grindon and Pietro have done an insanely amazing job of creating an exceptional bit of theatre. I’ve been so proud and very happy to have worked on it with them. Hamlet is amazing, the entire cast is amazing. It’s been a challenge because it’s been the first time I’ve cried.

– Joshua Newby, Laertes

Via Theatre Group

Now, to the cast. Wow.

Completely natural as Hamlet, Eden Jack appeared in every scene to grab your attention, to make you feel all the feelings, to watch his slow descent into total despair. Eden is a superstar and ate up the role with absolute certainty that I’m not really sure who he is anymore. Also, I’m sorry, David Tennant who?

Eden was amazing, and everyone else was as well.

– John Galbraith, writer, director and mastermind behind originally written musical, Be Merry, performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

While it is of course Hamlet’s show, the rest of the cast did not give up the limelight willingly. The naughty King Claudius (played by Douglas James) was sensational, switching from manipulative to angry to just a little bit sexy. I had the pleasure of seeing Douglas’ fanboys after the show, and they were just as thrilled as I was with his performance. Married to Claudius is Gertrude, played by India Browning. India lived up to the role of a Queen by playing it like an absolute, well, queen. She was able to change her emotions so effectively onstage providing that motherly love, while still also being slightly sexy.

Via Theatre Group

It was a great evening. I really enjoyed seeing Shakespeare being brought to life. It’s always much better seeing it performed by actors than reading it and it was a lot of fun. I thought Douglas was especially good in his role, very powerful in his performance. And also the bloke at the end.

– Joe Brennan

Our next family saw father Polinius (Jacan Chaplais) with son Laertes (Joshua Newby) and daughter Ophelia (Kat Fevyer). The three had amazing chemistry whenever they were together and each went full force with their characters that it is also hard to remember who they are as real-life people. As the first to die (spoilers), Jacan was definitely missed on stage as he was always incredibly commanding. Next to die (spoilers again), Kat was incredible as the poor girl struck with insanity and stole everyone’s attention constantly. Also, can you please audition for Showstoppers? Finally, Josh was incredible as the furious son, making me literally sit there with mouth agape at his ability to believably cry on stage, taking me completely aback. We were lucky to get an extra sprinkling of Josh as he multi-roled as some meddlesome Scotsman and he is completely at home on the stage.

My favourite part is the beginning with Ophelia, Laertes and Polonius. They look like such a cute family. It looks so cute, so perfect. The chemistry is impeccable. The acting is brilliant.

– Douglas James, Claudius (big fan)

Via Theatre Group

While the rest had smaller roles, there were no smaller actors. Charlotte Connelly was fabulous as Hamlet’s best bro, and it was a very touching end to have her rub his head goodbye. Emily Dugdale, Katy Halliwell, Ziqiao Xu, and Nathaniel O’Shea were also amazing in their supporting roles, changing characters and expressions with complete believability. It was also very nice to get a glimpse of Robin Mooney as General Fortinbras, though I wouldn’t ask him what his father is going to think of his performance. Though I must confess the performance of the century does have to go to Max Williams as a lowly Gravedigger. That guy went all balls to every wall with that performance: commanding, inviting, and maybe slightly sexy?

Via Theatre Group

I think maybe all my characters would work for different pimps

– Nathaniel O’Shea: Player King, Messenger, Gravedigger (all dressed like pimps)

All in all, I have found myself quite short for words about Hamlet. There are only so many ways you can say “it was amazing, I loved it”. So, quite simply, it was amazing, I loved it.


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A philosophy student with a penchant for uncertain puns

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