& Guildenstern Are Dead
Directors programme notes are painfully conscious of Stoppards
desire for the play to be "a comedy first and foremost",
which is not "taken too seriously". Indeed, by not taking
it too seriously, The Oxford Theatre Guilds production of
Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead is accessible,
gripping, and at times riotously funny.
play examines the world of Hamlet from the point of view of the
two attendant lords, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, moving them from
peripheral roles as puppets of the usurping king, to complex and
appealing characters, who question and attempt to understand their
Nicholls wonderfully camped-up Rosencrantz and Matt Addis
frustrated and philosophical Guildenstern are superb, compelling
their audience to share in the ridiculous situation in which they
find themselves ensnared. The parts of Hamlet and The Player are
also well acted, but other supporting roles particularly
The Court - are slightly disappointing, failing to make the portions
of Shakespeares Hamlet (the vital structural framework for
the play), demand the audiences attention.
being said, the physical comedy is perfect, heightened by incidental
music reflecting the building melodrama. A versatile and cleverly
designed set conveys a variety of locations, from a country road
to a ship, allowing Stoppards stage directions to be followed
"to a T" including the improbable appearance of
six tragedians from a small barrel!
in all, the effect is witty, exciting and vibrant convincing,
yet certainly not taken too seriously.