Tender Napalm, Southwark Playhouse
Budding playwrights showcase short plays

The Hamlet-fest of 2011

Tomorrow is the first of this year's Hamlet offering - there will be three (four if you count the musical but I don't). The great thing this year is that each has the potential to offer something quite different - well the first two do anyway.

Take the tomorrow's version at the White Bear in Kennington. They are using the 1603 folio which is rarely performed, shorter in length and lacking many of the famous soliloquies with some differences in character names too - Polonius is Corambis, for example.

I've read the 1603 folio as part of my obsession with Hamlet being younger than it says in the 1623 text. In the earlier folio there isn't an explicit reference to his age. There aren't cast details on the website but I'm hoping that it is a younger actor taking the lead.

The Globe's production this year definitely does have a young actor, Joshua McGuire, in the lead and is a pared back version with a running time of around two hours straight through. There is always a bit of flab in Shakespeare so it will be interesting to see how it changes the dynamics of the play. And as I haven't seen a young actor play Hamlet on the stage before, I'm naturally excited about that too.

The final version at the Young Vic is the most traditional with Martin Sheen taking the role. I've already written questioning whether they've got it wrong. But, I'm still curious to see an actor of his stature on the Young Vic stage playing THE role and hopefully by October, when I'm seeing it, I will have forgotten how good Rory Kinnear was at the National.