Review Round-up: Hamlet at the Theatre Royal Windsor


Theatre Royal Windsor

Press Night: Tue 20 July

Yes, Windsor isn’t quite London but anything Shakespearean that stars Ian McKellen isn’t something to simply pass over - particularly when it’s an age-defying turn as Hamlet.

The production is directed by Sean Mathias as part of his inaugural season as Artistic Director at Theatre Royal Windsor.

The cast includes Francesca Annis, Frances Barber, Emmanuella Cole, Alis Wyn Davies, Jenny Seagrove, Ben Allen, Llinos Daniel, Ashley D Gayle, Nick Howard-Brown, Jonathan Hyde, Asif Khan, Lee Knight and Missy Malek.

Ian McKellen as Hamlet at the Theatre Royal Windsor. Photo: Ian West
Ian McKellen as Hamlet at the Theatre Royal Windsor. Photo: Ian West

Critic Reviews:

The Guardian 

Director Sean Mathias presents a host of interesting ideas yet many fail to take flight... 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. 

The Telegraph (paywall) 

Despite the madness, however, Mathias’s production is oddly conventional, and when we have been treated in recent years to such expert deconstructions as Robert Icke’s 2017 Almeida production, one feels a little shortchanged. I was fascinated by McKellen’s Hamlet, but I hope this is not his farewell to theatre.

The Times (paywall) 

Yes, he can. The first thing to say about this bold but uneven production is that, at 82, Sir Ian McKellen proves that the most celebrated role of them all is not beyond his reach.

The Independent 

You might have thought that McKellen would give himself up anew to the demands of Hamlet by turning the production into a kind of self-reflexive one-man show – perhaps in the manner of Robert Lepage’s Hamlet-based one-hander Elsinore – but nothing could be further from the truth. He is at once electrically courageous and unassuming.

 Evening Standard

Ian McKellen’s age-defying Hamlet is a sensation in every sense of the word. It blends a lifetime of talent and technique with splashy novelty and the conscious exercise of star power to jolt theatre back to life.

The Stage (paywall) 

Ian McKellen entertains and entrances as Hamlet in an otherwise confused and chaotic production.

Hamlet is playing at Theatre Royal Windsor until Saturday 25 September 2021.

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