To be or not to be?

On January 20 we welcomed the Phoenix Theatre Group for a live theatre show in our gym – a both fun and memorable experience for Year 7 to 12. Here are some stundents‘ reviews on the Phoenix‘ take on Shakespeare’s famous „Hamlet“.

“Hamlet” by William Shakespeare and Kelly Griffiths

by Nabeel

What do you call an earthquake during a production of Hamlet? A Shakesperience; that’s what I experienced on the 20th of January when Imogen Thomas and James Grimstone performed the play “Hamlet” at our school.

The plot of Hamlet is about a young prince, whose father has died recently and because he is far away from the land he should be inheriting, his title of king is being passed to his uncle, who then marries Hamlets mother right after getting the crown. Hamlet having found out from the ghost of his father, that the cause of death actually was a killing, decides to take revenge.
The director interpreted Hamlet very well, so the people today could understand what was being displayed and could still experience then Shakespearean elements, as for example the language.
The actors had little to no stage to work with but the play was directed so it actually didn’t require a big stage to be performed on. The costumes were simple, like sometimes one or two accessories and that’s it, I think it was designed so there wouldn’t be much time taken by the actors to get the next part rolling. Since there were only two actors and seventeen different roles, they took for some roles people from the audience, because the audience sometimes listens to you more, if you interact with them more and they did this very well, so that even I listened to it. Even if the play was already powerful, when they added the audience into the roles, it got more powerful in the aspect of entertainment.

I think the play was directed wonderfully for a smaller audience, it has a good pacing and the audience work was pure gold comedy. I would recommend it to everyone, but if you want it to be as hilarious as it was for us, you should see the play with your friends.
I would rate this play a 4.5 out of 5. It was very good!

Nabeel and Aaron as Resencrantz and Guildenstern.

Review: Hamlet

by Charlotte

“To be or to not be”: this is the most famous quote by Hamlet from Hamlet by Shakespeare. My first reaction was that James playing Hamlet is attractive. In this statement I am going to review the Hamlet play, which was played by Imogen Thomas and James Grimstone at the Christliches Gymnasium Rudolf Stempel at the 20th of January.

The play was about a boy who revenge his father but then died. Hamlet was a young man who is in love with a girl named Ophelia. After his father was killed by his uncle he wants revenge. In the end everyone is dead, some of them because of poison, other ones were killed. The actors played many different roles in the play but also included the audience. They did a impressive job letting us feel and see what happens in the play. The costume were not really lavish but it was enough to know who there played right now. My favourite moment was when James flexed his Bizeps. The sword fight was the funniest moment in the play because they did it in “slow motion“. Sometimes it was hard to understand the language because it was “Shakespeare English”. At some certain moments they did sound effects and one time the actress sang a song which was really fantastic.

Before the performance I wasn’t sure If I would like the play because I thought I couldn’t unterstand a single word and it would be boring but afterwards I would say that I loved it and they played it extremely good. In conclusion I would say that this play was really impressive and I would recommend it to you if your like interactive theatre or if you just like Shakespeare. In other words: I would rate the play with five out of five stars.

„Hamlet“ by the Phoenix Theatre – Review

by Charlie

During the play Charlie (on the left) was called on the stage to play Polonius.

„To be or not to be“ this is the most famous quote from the play. My first reaction was that I somewhat found it difficult to follow the story, but I probably came along with it pretty good. So Iam reviewing the play from the Phoenix theatre with Imogen Thomas and James Grimstone which they performed on the 20th of January 2023 in our school.

In Hamlet the plot is about Hamlet who needs to take revenge because the King and his father died, just like everyone else in the story. The main characters were Hamlet, Ophelia and the old father Polonius. The actors only were two, but Hamlet has more than just two characters, so they brought people from the audience up and told them what to say and do and I were one of them. I had to play Polonius and stand up every single time and got killed at the end, just like everyone else. The actors also had good special effects including the music, setting, style, language and the desing of their costumes which I personally think were ideal for the play. One of the central aspects for me, was that they brought up people from the audience and had them to play different characters and I think that it was extraordinary but it improves the way of including the audience in the play. I also were someone who had to come up and play with the actors, but because of that I felt much more included into the play and it somehow held the audience alive to watch and listen to them. My feelings through this performance of myself were mainly that slightly embarrassing but fun at the same time.

To sum up, I probably would want to watch these specific actors a second time but not the same play. The actors did their job excellent and included the audience perfectly. I would totally recommend it but I want to warn you. If you don’t want to play any character against your will, don’t sit first row. I rate it 4.8 stars out of five.

Review of „Hamlet“

by Helene

„To be or not to be“ everyone asks themselves this question at least one time in life. Be good in school and learn or just chill and watch a movie. Be in a relationship or go your own way. Be yourself or be what the society wants you to be. On 20th January 2023
Imogen Thomas and James Grimstone, two actors of the Pheonix Theatre played Hamlet by Shakespeare at my school. The first I thought was “I hope I do not have to talk“ but then I was exited to see the play.

The ghost from the King of Denmark tells his son Hamlet to revenge his murder by killing Hamlet’s uncle, who is the new king. Hamlet pretended madness, contemplates life and death, and seeks revenge. Hamlet hired actors to play the same situation, which
happend to his father, thereupon his uncle was agitated. His uncle, fearing for his life, also undertook plots to kill Hamlet. It ends with a duel, during which the King, Queen, Hamlet’s opponent Polonius and Hamlet are all killed.
The play needed a total of 10 actors, them being only 2 actors was a problem. But they solved it by choosing people of the audience and calling them to the front, where they told them what to say and do. This resolution was entertaining and very funny to see. However they were only two, they had to switch costumes fast and play several roles. The whole concept was designed simple, so the actors were able to built and to remove the setting easy. For the most parts they spoke in a old English, which made it hard to understand everything. For this reason they could sum up at the end of an act in normal
English, so the audience could understand the play more. As example I didn’t understand some of the parts they said, cause my English is not that good and old English is harder to understand.

I think for only two actors, they did there job very well, due to the fact that this was their first job ever and they were only two people in a play with many more characters. For instance they switched between the different characters really fast, were good actors and put the roles good across and knew the text of the other roles.
I personally like theatre a lot and was exited to see Hamlet from Shakespeare. After the play I felt fortunate to experience this drama at my school and happy knowing the plot of Hamlet.

All in all, the drama was entertaining and a good way to learn more about Hamlet and Shakespeare in general. But they could try to sum up the content at the end of a act, so more people could understand. I give this performance of „Hamlet“ four out of five stars and would recommend it to other people.

Schlussapplaus für alle Darstellerinnen und Darsteller.