Friday, 6 October 2017

Please, Continue (Hamlet), Oct 5, 2017 ***1/2

Created by Roger Bernat & Yan Duyvendak, by Dreams Come True, Geneve
At Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne, Oct 5-9 2017 
Melbourne Festival
Reviewer: Kate Herbert 
Stars: ***1/2
This review is published only on this blog. This NOT a review for Herald Sun. KH
This pic is not of Melbourne season
Hamlet killed Polonius. It’s a fictional killing, but we know it happened because we witness him stick the knife into the arras behind which Polonius is hiding while he eavesdrops on Hamlet’s conversation with his mother, Gertrude.

But what would an Australian criminal court make of the evidence?

Please, Continue (Hamlet) is a dramatised and mostly improvised version of a court case against Hamlet, complete with a real judge, real lawyers and forensics expert. The legal personnel change each night but the three constants are the actors playing Hamlet (Chris Ryan), Ophelia (Jessica Clarke) and Gertrude (Genevieve Picot).

If you’ve ever witnessed court proceedings, you’ll know that they can be slow, laborious and mind-numbingly dull with occasional moments of interest or glimpses of brilliance and wit from a barrister.

Such is the case with these proceedings that are based on a blend of Shakespeare’s Hamlet with a real murder case.

On opening night, Lesley Taylor QC led the Defence with confidence, sharp humour and theatrical flair while John Champion SC was formal and dignified leading the Prosecution and forensic pathologist, Ass. Prof. David Ranson was compelling and a bit of a hoot – perhaps unintentionally.

This Hamlet is a lowbrow petty crim rather than a privileged royal and Ryan captures his nervous evasiveness. Clarke’s Ophelia is a resentful party gal while and Picot’s Gertrude is nervy and suitably bemused by the legal palaver.

Please Continue (Hamlet) is perhaps more interesting as an idea than as a piece of theatre but its success depends to a great degree on the legal fraternity’s capacity to entertain a crowd.

By Kate Herbert

On opening night, Oct 5, 2017, legal team included:

Judge: Hon. Prof. George Hampel AM QC
Defence: Lesley Taylor QC & Daniel Aghion
Prosecution: John Champion SC & Jeremy McWilliam
Judge’s Associate: Grant Lubofksy
Forensic pathologist: Ass Prof David Ranson

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