Jun 21

Shakespeare’s Hamlet done solo

by Jenna Shummoogum · 0 comments

Of all the Shakespearean plays to put on as a one man show, it would seem that Hamlet would be the most difficult. But Raoul Bhaneja is more than up to the task and he took to the Martha Cohen stage in Hamlet (Solo) as part of the Magnetic North Theatre Festival.
It’s just Bhaneja on a vast stage, with no set, props, music, lighting design or sound design. He walks onto the stage, dressed in everyday clothing, yells ‘lights’ and then launches into Shakespeare’s Hamlet. There are no additions or subtractions to the script, it’s just Shakespeare’s text, left to stand as is.

The entirety of Hamlet, one of Shakespeare’s longest plays runs about two hours. In the span of those two hours, Bhaneja plays all 17 characters. He breathes life into the characters, even the ghost of Hamlet’s father is well done. It is clear that he knows the text, inside and out, and he depicts each characters, filling out the details.

Bhaneja is tremendous, but he looks quite alone on the big stage of the Martha Cohen. And that is the point, one man and the great script that is Hamlet. But even though the solo actor is engaging and energetic, Hamlet (Solo) is a little hard to get into. If one is not familiar with the story, it can be hard to keep up with all the characters and plot lines. It’s almost like watching a play through a smoke screen, as there are no visual clues indicating who is who. The fun and comic elements of Shakespeare are not as poignant with a solo performer. It seems that this particular stage is a little too vast for one man putting on Hamlet.

Hamlet (Solo) is part of the Magnetic North Theatre Festival. Two shows remain. Tickets and more information is available online.

Photo Credit: Andrew Kenneth Martin

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