Review: Hamlet, Bristol Old Vic (live recording for cinema release) - angry Hamlet is a prince of action
The fat has been cut from this Bristol Old Vic production of Hamlet, leaving the meat of the play. There is no Fortinbras subplot, the ghost and player scenes are stripped to the bare essentials.
It's a minimalist, stark modern set, just doors and a staircase - although the way it is filmed, you don't get to appreciate it in perhaps the same way you would watching it at the theatre. What you do get is the close-ups of the actors.
The only face you don't see is the ghost which is an interesting choice; Hamlet (Billy Howle) doesn't doubt for a second this cloaked, hooded figure is his father, but is it? Does he just want it to be?
Howle's Hamlet, in this trimmed play, becomes a man of action; there is little room for confirmation, doubt and indecision. In fact, he is manic, angry and enraged - mad in purpose or a loose canon?
This contrasts with the cool, quiet of Finbar Lynch's Claudius. If he didn't confess, you wouldn't believe he had a hand in Old Hamlet's murder rather, he is protecting the realm from an heir who swings from irritating to unhinged.