Review Round Up: Hamlet, Theatre Royal Windsor

We round up the reviews for this eagerly anticipated production of Shakespeare’s tragedy starring Ian McKellen.

(c)Marc Brenner

WhatsOnStage: *** “There was nothing I was watching that wouldn’t have been equally or better served by simply listening to it. For all its apparent modishness, the production is stodgily old-fashioned.”

The Independent: **** “The actor returns, agog with eagerness, to play the prince of Denmark 50 years on.”

iNews: ** “But despite all the talent involved, this is a haphazard mess that leaves you wondering what on earth you’ve just witnessed – and what were they thinking.”

The Guardian: *** “The production’s salvation, ultimately, is the play itself whose power rests so much on the shoulders of its lead part. McKellen’s understated artistry renders Hamlet a prince of all – and any – time and age. If Hamlet “celebrates the glories of man and also the utter insignificance of man”, as Kenneth Branagh noted, McKellen does just that.”

The Telegraph: *** “This multiply ‘blind’ production at Theatre Royal Windsor wasn’t imaginative enough, despite a laudable performance from McKellen.”

The Arts Desk: *** “Leaping out of time from Gandalf to Hamlet – athletic thespianism from Sir Ian McKellen.”

Evening Standard: **** “True, Sean Mathias’s production, set on a largely bare stage with a battlement gantry, never quite gets us to a place where age and gender cease to matter. But despite countless Covid holdups and the late departure of two actors in pivotal parts, it’s pretty darn fluent.”

The Stage: *** “Ian McKellen entertains and entrances as Hamlet in an otherwise confused and chaotic production.”

Pocketsize Theatre: *** “If ever there was a case for capturing a production for streaming, this could be it, especially if the Queen would let them cross the road to shoot inside the Windsor Castle courtyard.”

Variety: “Beautifully relaxed and utterly authentic, his playing evokes the older McKellen himself at his most patient and avuncular. But we shouldn’t be watching McKellen. We should be watching Hamlet.”

Hamlet will continue to play at the Theatre Royal Windsor until the 15th September.

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