BWW Review: ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD at ASB Waterfront Theatre
The KensingtonSwan season of "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern" produced by Auckland Theatre Company is extraordinarily good.
It is indeed a feast of delicious theatre that should not be missed.
Oscar-winning screenwriter and playwright Tom Stoppard turns Shakespeare's Hamlet inside out in this hilarious slapstick comedy. This work is consistently in the top 25 plays of all time. I've often wondered why after seeing other performances but after seeing this one, I 'get it'.
With this play and in the words of 'shining star' (he absolutely is!), Director Benjamin Henson "we are treated to pure delight, laughing at the philosophical goings-on a created space within a stage within a theatre for a play that explores a play within a play". Loved it all!
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern find themselves as the main act in Shakespeare's greatest play. There's no escaping their fate as pawns in Hamlet's "Game of Thrones", and totally unaware they are in the spotlight as fearlessly funny commentators of their own predicament.
Madcap it may be but the absolutely best theatre cleverly replicates life and presents our own absurdities in comedic form.
The randomness of the world and the occurrence of highly improbable events are highlighted right from the very start when Rosencrantz and Guildenstern engage in a heads/ tails coin flipping session, suggesting that the world is in fact ruled by randomness. When we look at the 'unusual' events of the world today, particularly in the realm of politics and who is leading, this is indeed very poignant.
The central characters are trapped in the waiting game of death and watch events unfold in Hamlet's life and psyche which they hadn't seen before, and they are full of questions.
Eternity is a terrible state, isn't it? I mean where is it going to end?"
Tom Clarke as Rosencrantz and Freya Finch as Guildenstern are sensational. The synergy between them allows them to deliver with punch, illuminating the depth within this great play, often beyond both the absurd and the comedic.
The physicality between them was so good it became one entity, in both similarity and polarity. The collaboration between director, performers and Movement Director Matthew Moore has resulted in something very very special.
This can also be said of all performers, the physicality is particularly delicious.
"Uncertainty is the normal state. You're nobody special"
These words superbly delivered by the inimitable Rima Te Wiata in her role as The Player resonated with me long after the show was finished. The greatness of Rima Te Wiata is her ability to deliver 'the magic' with effortlessness. Sublime.
Her troupe demonstrate excellent physicality as if they were moving props. Complete with Piano Accordion and contortionist moves they are fabulous. Bravo Matthew Moore, Grace Bentley-Tsibuah, Andrew Eddy and Robin Kelly.
Team Royalty; Claudius (Simon Prast), Gertrude (Lisa Chappell), Ophelia (Brynley Stent) Alfred (Andrew Eddey) are all superb and stroppy game-playing Hamlet (Joe Witkowski) charismatic cleverness is mesmerizing.
"There is only One Direction and time is its only measure."
The set, lighting, costumes and cleverness with the curtain - all top-notch!
What a way for Auckland Theatre Company to finish the year with this production; the proverbial 'high note' for sure. Go see it.
KenstingtonSwan's Season of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
Auckland Theatre Company
ASB Waterfront Theatre
Until September 26
USE OF HAZE AND MATURE THEMES