Studio 58/ Langara College


by William Shakespeare

Director: Campbell Smith Set design: Pam Johnson Lighting design: Shane Droucker Costume design: Nancy Tait Composer and Sound design: Fight Choreography: David Bloom Stage Manager: Aurora Seidemann

Venue:Studio 58, Langara College
Dates: 1 - 23 February 2003

Reviewer: Jane Penistan

Pam Johnson has given the cast of Hamlet a wonderful steep and rocky set, backed by a pearly cloud of draped silk. Aided by the intricate light patterns of Shane Droucker, the stones become opalescent and thus provide a mysterious and chilly background for the opening scene wherein Horatio and the guards encounter the ghost of Hamlet's father. These castle ramparts later become the sunlit courtyard of Elsinore, with a high cliff stage left, which is agilely scaled by various members of the cast.

In the title role Kyle Rideout accepts a major challenge. A young and inexperienced actor in a very demanding part, he is believable as a griefstricken and bewildered prince. He is ably assisted (in its most literal sense) by the Horatio of Christopher Frary.

Richard Heaven presents a regal and paternal ghost whose costume and make-up are both unusual and pleasing. Anthony Johnston is more successful as Reynaldo, servant to Polonius, than he is as Osric. Lara Gilchrist is a charming and most convincing Ophelia. As Queen Gertrude, Kelly Metzger portrays an ambitious woman who is not devoid of maternal feelings, as she shows in her scenes with Ophelia, and with Hamlet, the son she cannot understand.

Polonius, the aging courtier and councellor, becomes a comic character in the interpretation of Ben Geldreich and this is somewhat disturbing, as he does not seem to fit in this production. Several other members of the large cast play more than one part.

For the most part the speech is good, being intelligently delivered with clear diction. The director has slanted this presentation towards a young contemporary audience. As this is a student company performing for a 2003 audience, this is acceptable, and makes an interesting study of this much performed tragedy.

Hamlet runs at Studio 58, Langara College, 100 West 449th Avenue, 1 - 23 February at 20.00. Tuesday through Sunday, with matinees Sunday at 14.00. Tickets are $15, $14 seniors and students, general admission. Friday and Saturday $16 and both performances on Sunday are half price. For more information and reservations please call the Festival Box Office at 604-257-0366.

2003, Jane Penistan