Well, me and the misses went over the river to the Globe last night to see Billy-Boy Bard's latest - Hamlet, Prince of Dagenham (or summit). Now, as Betty will tell you, I'm a big Shakespeare fan (especially his early funny ones) but I’ll admit I had my doubts about going to see this. I'd been hearing rumours all over the shop that it was a remake of that other Hamlet play (not that I'd see it) and very similar to Kyd's "Spanish Tragedy” (not that I've seen that neither). But let me tell you – you can forget all about that other rubbish! This Hamlet was the business!
There were some lovely scary bits. Right at the start there was all this goings on with a ghost and our Betty nearly had an accident at this other bit when Hamlet kills this old bloke behind a curtain. And as for Hamlet himself, he might start off as a bit of a Moaning-Minnie but once he start's acting as if he's “a few galleons short of an Armada” it gets well good - hats off to Burbage for that as he delivered in buckets as always. He was great at the whole “Will he? Won’t he?” bit about killing his uncle, the King. (Nasty piece of work that uncle - can't remember his name though) Course, if was me and he’d killed my father and married my mother I'd have just said “stuff it” and stabbed him right in the chapels!
All the players were up to scratch last night; all the lads and all the “other lads” (if I have to explain to our Betty once more that the women aren’t women she’ll be going for a swim with Ophelia, I’ll tell you!)
Now the comedy was a bit thin on the ground. Personally I don’t find grave-diggers that funny – if he’d juggled the skulls or fallen into the grave a couple of times that might have got him a laugh! And I think Billy-Boy missed a trick not using that pair, Rosy-stone and Guild-his-whatsit, a bit more. Maybe like Fallstaff they should get their own play! Maybe a bit of back-story or something telling us what they got up to in England (but what are the chances of that happening).
I will have to admit that the play did get a bit befuddling at times. (I had to explain the whole "To Not Be, To Be Not Be" bit three or four times to our Betty on the way home) Especially confusing was the play going on inside the play (all a bit post-modern for me).
But that final scene was amazing! What with the sword fight and the poison and bodies everywhere! But then I'm a blood-thirsty one me. I just love Theatre-Nasties. Now, I don’t want to spoil the end for you in case you go yourself but basically in this one - no one gets out alive!
Daniel Smallpiece, Firkin Bottom Knocker (retired)