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Hamlet’s Uncle Speaks Out As Part Of Shakespeare Festival
Saturday - April 2, 2016
The moves and motives of one of Shakespeare’s most enigmatic monarchs comes under scrutiny as part of Richmond’s Shakespeare Festival, which takes place from Monday 18 to Sunday 24 April in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death.

Something Rotten playing at The Georgian Theatre Royal on Wednesday 20 April presents the events of Hamlet – one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays – from the viewpoint of King Claudius; the uncle-turned stepfather whose regicidal, fratricidal activities awaken the vengeful impulses of his nephew-turned stepson.

“Claudius is an endlessly intriguing character,” says Robert Cohen, the writer-performer of Something Rotten. “We know he murdered Hamlet’s father and married his mother, but beyond that, we don’t have much to go on. For instance, how long has Claudius had designs on his brother’s crown? How long has he been having extra-marital relations with his wife, Gertrude? How did he get on with his nephew, prior to these recent upheavals?” he added.

All this and more will be explored in the show which will have equal appeal to those who are familiar or unfamiliar with the original text of Hamlet. 

Also at The Georgian Theatre Royal as part of the Festival is Opera Nova on Thursday 21 April. This evening of music is inspired by the works of Shakespeare and includes excerpts from Othello, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Beatrice and Benedict, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story and The Fairy Queen. With a wide selection of arias, duets, trios and powerful choruses, Shakespeare’s unique texts are combined with the music of composers such as Verdi, Britten, Berlioz, Bernstein and Purcell.

On Saturday 23 April, there will be afternoon and evening performances of Shakespeare plays by two teams representing Richmond School Drama Club, Richmond School Sixth Form Theatre Company, The Georgian Theatre Royal Youth Theatre and Richmond Church of England Primary School. This is Shakespeare 16 will involve students ranging in age from 7 to 18 who will explore Shakespeare’s relevance to themselves and their surroundings through performance.

The Shakespeare Festival also includes film screenings of Romeo and Juliet, Bill and Shakespeare in Love at The Station Cinema; a Shakespeare-inspired art exhibition by the Yoredale Art Group, Artwave North and Graphic Design students from Teesside University at The Station (22 April to 5 May); a Shakespeare and beer night at The Georgian Theatre Royal on Monday 18 April; a three-course Shakespeare Dinner at The King’s Head Hotel with a talk by Nobby Dimon on Friday 22 April; and a Shakespeare Quiz at the King’s Head Hotel on Sunday 24 April.

PHOTO: Robert Cohen explores the motives of Hamlet’s uncle in Something Rotten.

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