Trying to have Faith, Hope and Charity at Southwark Play
A Delicate Balance between indifference and appreciation

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern definitely aren't dying

Tn-500_2 "Life in a box is better than no life at all, I expect. You'd have a chance, at least. You could lie there thinking: 'Well. At least I'm not dead.'"

There are so many fantastic lines in Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead I've bought the play text just so I can enjoy them all again.

It was my first Stoppard play and I confess that it took a little while for me to get the measure of it, particularly the Waiting For Godot-esque first scene. But once the door was open and I was through there was no looking back.

This Sir Trevor Nunn directed production  - part of his season at the Theatre Royal Haymarket - sees the lovely Samuel Barnett and Jamie Parker take the leads, ably supported by Chris Andrew Mellon as The Player.

It tells the story of the two minor characters from Hamlet who are called to Elsinore, as friends of the Prince, to determine what is the root of his agitated mind. If you imagine transposing characters of the ilk of Vladimir and Estragon onto centre stage, give them a task for which they are ill-equipped, while the Hamlet cast is on the periphery then you'll get the idea.

Bubbling below the storyline is the debate between free-will and determinism and Stoppard's language is rich with with paradox and irony - another reason to peruse the play text at a more leisurely pace so as to better enjoy all its complexities.

But for all that there is to chew over, it is also great, great fun. I particularly liked the nod to Hamlet's author by dressing The Player up as William Shakespeare.

Parker and Barnett prove masters of comic timing which is essential particularly in their quick fire exchanges and repartee.

Hamlet is my favourite play and I think this might be close to being my second. It's great to see such a familiar story and speeches poked, so cleverly, with a humorous stick. I might just have to day seat this one to get a second look. It's getting 5 stars from me.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is on at the Theatre Royal Haymarket until August 20 and if you want to read more great quotes there is a great list on the IMDb website from when the play was made into a film.


This was always going to be an easy peasy one because off the top of my head we have Trevor Nunn who directed Mr W's Hamlet and Sam Barnett who was in His Dark Materials. But not one to stop at that it turns out that Jamie Parker is in the forthcoming BBC series The Hour too.