Review: Daniel Radcliffe and Joshua McGuire in the splendid Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Old Vic
Joshua McGuire (Guildenstern), who has played Hamlet, is on stage talking to a Hamlet (Luke Mullins) - could Tom Stoppard have anticipated this when he wrote Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead 50 years ago?
Such career progression from tragedy to humourous meta theatre feels wholly apt for this existential play which explores fate versus self determinism. The two minor characters of Shakespeare's play are catapulted centre (back) stage and seem determined to cling to life when literary fate would have it otherwise.
"There must have been a moment, at the beginning, where we could have said - no. But somehow we missed it."
Called to the Danish court by Hamlet's uncle, Rosencrantz (Daniel Radcliffe) and Guildenstern's 'job' is to determine what is wrong with the Prince - the problem is they are out of their depth. Unsure of what they need to do or how to do it they search for structure, rules - clues - to help. They talk themselves into and out of action, bide their time bickering and bury themselves in familiar games while the story of Hamlet plays out on the periphery, often sweeping across the back of a stage like a human curtain being drawn.