I was at the Manchester Royal Exchange (just 45 minutes up the West Coast Mainline) to see Maxine Peake play Shakespeare’s Danish prince. Peake was mesmerizing as she strode the stage, at once sinister in her madness and profound in her insights. The run is extended, and sold out.
The production was very special, but I have yet to arrive at a satisfactory explanation for the translation of Polonius into the female counselor, Polonia, while Peake’s Hamlet remained a Prince. The reverence to tradition is neatly complemented by some neat contemporary gestures (such as the Liverpudlian gravedigger with an ipod), but I’m not convinced by the play-within-a-play scene.
Students from all years joined staff at the New Vic theatre near the uni for a staging of Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts (1881). A revival of Richard Eyre’s excellent production explored issues of generational conflict, rapidly changing social conventions, and moral hypocrisy at the end of the 19th century (http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2013/sep/20/richard-eyre-spirit-ibsen-ghosts). A few of us then had a bite to eat and a pint at the Polite Vicar next door, and caught the 2nd half of Stoke City v Newcastle (which was a lot less exciting than Ibsen).
We’ll be taking in the excellent Northern Broadside’s production of Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer at the Vic in November (http://newvictheatre.org.uk/she-stoops-to-conquer).