Review: No Holds Bard
The actor playing Hamlet is suffering a crisis of confidence. Is the play as he remembers? Macbeth drops in to chivvy him along. Then Othello and King Lear give it a go as well.
This solo show sees Michael Hurst display his skill at delivering Shakespeare along with hilariously physical stage combat moves. (Some of them looked a bit dangerous – tumbling around the stage, knocking over the props.) Although the character Hamlet is ostensibly the focus, it’s Macbeth who steals the show. Wee cocky Macbeth all bluster and charm. Part of it is the accent, most of it is Hurst having fun.
A great round yellow rug neatly defines the room on stage (designer John Verryt). Combined with an old armchair and a couple of tiny tables it captures the depressing atmosphere of a lonely flat. It contrasts nicely with the costume the actor wears – an elaborately decorated doublet, puffy breeches, tights, and lovely shoes with ribbon ties. (Costume designer Lesley Burkes-Harding.)
People who know their Shakespeare will like this (as long as they don’t mind Shakespeare being messed with). The rest of us will enjoy it, but we’ll have the sneaking suspicion that we’re not quite in on the joke.
- No Holds Bard at Downstage Theatre, 16 May – 1 June 2013