Reviewed by David Smith
Rob Croser's surety as a director was evident through all the elements of this striking interpretation of what is the most enigmatic of Shakespeare's tragedies. A declamatory style, established early, was maintained, along with a crisp pace and effective scene transitions, for much of the play.
The sloping disc which formed the playing area was a suitable, spare setting and encouraged a swirling, circling movement in many of the scenes.
Will Cox confidently and compellingly added Hamlet to his already impressive repertoire. He commanded the stage, as he should, and clearly explored the role's complexity. He was always credible, but was at his best in the interactions with those he was hurting the most, and in the more reflective soliloquies.
Paul Rodda was convincing as Claudius, and his initial appearance as King Hamlet's ghost was remarkable in establishing, more clearly than many who play the role, the compelling purpose for all of young Hamlet's subsequent thoughts and actions.
There was a lot of shouting in this production and it was the women who provided the clearest contrast to that. Bronwyn Ruciak brought us a staunch and conflicted Gertrude, and Madeleine Herd was wonderful as Ophelia, showing devotion, then confusion, then madness, all with skill and empathy.
David Roach impressed as Polonius, even more as the gravedigger, while Shedrick Yarkpai as Horatio and Jett Zivkovic as Laertes complemented Hamlet's varied moods.
This was a strong production which confirmed Independent Theatre's thoroughly established reputation.