Citizens Theatre, Glasgow

Neil Cooper

It is the ghosts who are left standing at the end of Dominic Hill's brooding new production of Shakespeare's tragedy, which puts a bespectacled Brian Ferguson centre stage as the Danish Prince in an angry search for closure following his father's murder.

With the back of the battleship grey stage lined with reel to reel tape recorders in what appears to be an abandoned and possibly haunted house where the party never stops, Hamlet and his pals attempt to capture the voice of his father's spirit by way of a BBC Radiophonic Workshop style soundtrack worthy of 1970s horror thriller The Legend of Hell House.

Leading the charge in all this is Ferguson, who plays Hamlet as a dour-faced pistol-packing wind-up merchant trying out different versions of himself. One minute he has a cassette deck slung across his shoulder, interviewing Peter Guinness's Claudius and Roberta Taylor's Gertrude like an on-the-spot reporter, the next he's in the stalls directing the visiting theatrical troupe with a silent movie megaphone.

When he tries to play the hardman, however, it goes badly wrong, for Meghan Tyler's increasingly booze-soaked Ophelia as much as himself. Where Hamlet's response to the death of a father is to look inwards, she lets rip on a more primal path to self-destruction.

With a cast of nine playing Nikola Kodjabashia's discordant score on an array of broken-down pianos, strings and electronic noises, Hill's production uses many of the stylistic accoutrements of his similarly open-plan take on Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment. Here things are even darker in a version that simmers with an edgy intensity that brings all of Hamlet's demons home to roost.