Steven Berkoff’s play skilfully examines the innermost thoughts of Hamlet and Ophelia, offering real insight – but can come across as repetitive in places.
Exploring the tragic relationship between Ophelia and Hamlet, The Secret Love Life of Ophelia is a powerful and passionate play that captures every element of it from romance to tragic ending with depth.
Directed as a series of video messages between the pair by James Haddrell, an immensely talented and large cast explore the different moments of the pairs relationship with great passion that offers a deeply psychological look at how the pair developed and changed individually and as a couple.
Written to reflect Shakespeare’s original poetic language, which is no easy task by Steven Berkoff, the audience really is able to feel the depth of each actor’s interpretation of the central characters in completely different ways making it intriguing and intimate to watch. However, it would also be fair to say that after a time some of the monologues do start to feel repetitive – not pushing the relationship forward enough to make it feel tighter and more coherent.
However, this being said, it does provide a wonderful opportunity to have a look at some of the wonderful upcoming talent that is emerging even through these very difficult times. Each actor shows a real ability to interpret these complex characters uniquely capturing a specific moment with great passion – even if the sheer number of actors involved means that it can feel slightly inconsistent in tone in places.
However, what makes this such an intriguing watch is the way in which underneath the romantic and lyric language, the audience gets a real sense of both character’s individual torment that eventually tears them apart in the most tragic way.
Overall, The Secret Love life of Ophelia is an immensely intriguing set up that successfully highlights the numerous ways in which both Hamlet and Ophelia could be seen and portrayed while offering an insight into their minds. I would be fascinated to see how it would work on stage.
By Emma Clarendon