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A hit, a palpable hit

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Ellen West - web producer | 19:04 UK time, Saturday, 19 July 2008

I wasn't expecting to see a play at Latitude, let alone Hamlet, but I happened upon The Factory theatre group by the lake this morning and before I knew it I was watching a rather fun and irreverent version of the Dane. Early signs didn't bode well - the cast are chosen by members of the audience playing rock, paper, scissors and calls for props made me fear an approach in which audience participation might overwhelm the Shakespeare, but once things started in earnest it was clear that the cast were serious about the performance. Different acts of the play took place in different locations - moving from the side of the lake to a couple of other spots in the woods - and apparently this flexibility is usual for the company. At the moment they are performing Hamlet around London every Sunday, with locations revealed by email or through the company's Facebook group. On the strength of this lakeside performance, which was moving and exciting, I would recommend seeing them. Instead of gabbling their lines in an attempt to maintain the audience's interest (as has happened in many productions of Hamlet I've seen) the actors respect the verse, without being weighed down by it. Very enjoyable.


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