Hamlet (solo)

A one-man performance of Hamlet comes to the Capital as part of this year's Fringe

Review by Ross Cullen | 05 Aug 2007

Variations on Shakespeare are a Fringe staple, and although there is little new in this one-handed Hamlet, it is an enjoyable and competent whistle-stop tour through Shakespeare's masterpiece.

The sole performer, Raoul Bhaneja gives bucket-loads of energy and drive to maintain constant liveliness and pace. It could hardly afford to slack: an hour and forty-five minutes provides most Fringe participants with ample time, but getting through Shakespeare's longest play is quite another matter. However, Bhaneja just about preserves the calm and pensiveness which some of these scenes require.

Of course, considerable but careful editing was also needed. The soliloquies have been shortened and some whole passages, including the final scene, are omitted completely. Still, this does not hurt the play, especially if you don't fancy all four hours of the original.

Bhaneja transforms between characters as convincingly as one man can, but this will still be a rather hard play for those without prior knowledge of the text, and that is one of the small and scarce drawbacks.