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IF something is rotten in the state of Denmark, then there is a definite intrigue with that issue for theatre companies in Scotland this particular season. The Royal Conservatoire's Hamlet is the first of three to be performed in Glasgow over the summer with an al fresco Hamlet in July (from Bard in the Botanics) and a further offering from the Citizens Theatre, opening the day after the Scottish independence referendum.
Arguably Shakespeare's most culturally penetrating play, with much of his clever wordplay still in common usage, the Conservatoire's examination of reason or madness is heightened by the fact Hamlet is performed by three actors from the BA Acting programme.
Andreas Munoz, Francesca Tomlinson and Rhys Warrington bring different aspects of the Prince's character alive: Munoz oozes a brooding physicality, Tomlinson offers deep thinking combined with probing questioning, and Warrington throws in some cheeky playfulness. This works best in the soliloquies but also proves effective when the trio speak in unison (although this is sometimes hampered by differences in diction and delivery).
The conceit, which works well for the character of Hamlet, is less successful for the dual-roled Ophelia (Tania Van Amse and Emma Read). The directors, Hugh Hodgart and Katya Kamotskaia, concede the casting is "to more equitably share the opportunity" which is an altogether understandable impulse to best showcase the final year students.
Martin Donaghy's Claudius is suitably calculating with an undercurrent of menace while Adam Newington's Laertes is most memorable for his beautiful timbre. A final nod to Meghan Tyler for providing some much-needed light relief as the jocular Gravedigger. But it would be good to see more light and shade in the next two productions of this revenge tragedy, please.