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Among Shakespeare s plays, Hamlet is considered by many his masterpiece Among actors, the role of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, is considered the jewel in the crown of a triumphant theatrical career Now Kenneth Branagh plays the leading role and co directs a brillant ensemble performance Three generations of legendary leading actors, many of whom first assembled for the Oscar winning film Henry V , gather here to perform the rarely heard complete version of the play This clear, subtly nuanced, stunning dramatization, presented by The Renaissance Theatre Company in association with Bbc Broadcasting, features such luminaries as Sir John Gielgud, Derek Jacobi, Emma Thompson and Christopher Ravenscroft It combines a full cast with stirring music and sound effects to bring this magnificent Shakespearen classic vividly to life Revealing new riches with each listening, this production of Hamlet is an invaluable aid for students, teachers and all true lovers of Shakespeare a recording to be treasured for decades to come Madness in great ones must not unwatch d go I don t know what to say about Hamlet I could go on about how it is a story of madness and revenge I could talk about the bonds of family loyalty, the sacrifices of love, the breaches of trust and their deleterious effects on the psyche But this is old news Hamlet has been around for over four hundred years What could I possibly say that hasn t already been said When my wife saw I was reading Shakespeare, her snippy comment went something like,Madness in great ones must not unwatch d go I don t know what to say about Hamlet I could go on about how it is a story of madness and revenge I could talk about the bonds of family loyalty, the sacrifices of love, the breaches of trust and their deleterious effects on the psyche But this is old news Hamlet has been around for over four hundred years What could I possibly say that hasn t already been said When my wife saw I was reading Shakespeare, her snippy comment went something like, What are you reading that for Don t you you have enough drama in your life Which, thanks Cristina, and yes I suppose I do, but what of it Drama can be so much freaking fun There is a reason it sells, a reason there are countless dramatic television shows on the air, countless box office films released each year rehashing the same old dramatic plotlines some to great effect others, not so much And there is a reason people are still reading Shakespeare centuries upon centuries after his death they are fun, they are witty, they are ever so dramatic Hamlet is no exception With plot elements involving fratricide, lethal potions, mistaken identity, forgery of correspondence, espionage and treachery, along with a solid dose of hanging out with the ghosts of dead relatives, one could imagine I m reviewing an episode of General Hospital But what is Hamlet if not a soap opera for the Elizabethans It is an epically tragic train wreck crammed into five tiny acts.What makes this piece of drama so timeless, though, is that its action is served in such perfect complement by its depiction of character We all know what Prince Hamlet is going to do before he does it Hamlet himself, even while doubting his abilities and struggling with his resolve, knows how it s going to all play out Why else would he be so cruel to Ophelia And yet it is this internal turmoil that fuels our interest in the action It might seem like an ordinary train wreck at its surface, but upon deeper inspection it is a train wreck in whose conductors and engineers we have a vested interest.So, witty discourse meets fast paced drama meets penetrating character introspection It almost makes me wonder what would have become of Luke and Laura had William Shakespeare been in charge of the script Hamlet, abridged GHOST DAD Hamlet, your uncle killed me and married your mom I want vengeance, so best get to murdering, plzthnx HAMLET EEK OPHELIA Hamlet, are you okay HAMLET Get away from me, skankwhore OPHELIA WTF goes from zero to crazy like that GERTRUDE Kid, you need therapy.HAMLET And you need to be less of AN ADULTEROUS WHORE POLONIUS OMG so rude HAMLET Eavesdropping I KEEL YOU play goes on hold while Hamlet talks to skeletons LAERTES You killed my dad and drove my sis Hamlet, abridged GHOST DAD Hamlet, your uncle killed me and married your mom I want vengeance, so best get to murdering, plzthnx HAMLET EEK OPHELIA Hamlet, are you okay HAMLET Get away from me, skankwhore OPHELIA WTF goes from zero to crazy like that GERTRUDE Kid, you need therapy.HAMLET And you need to be less of AN ADULTEROUS WHORE POLONIUS OMG so rude HAMLET Eavesdropping I KEEL YOU play goes on hold while Hamlet talks to skeletons LAERTES You killed my dad and drove my sister to suicide, you jerk I challenge you to a duel HAMLET I KEEL YOU CLAUDIUS MWAHAHAHA I put poison in your goblet, Hamlet GERTRUDE Yum, poisoned wine dies CLAUDIUS Whoops, my bad.HAMLET I KEEL YOU GHOST DAD Wow, nice job son Except for the part where you re bleeding all over my castle.HAMLET Ah, dammit dies And then the evenabridged version ROCKS FALL, EVERYONE DIES The end.Really, what s not to love Read for 12th grade AP EnglishBONUS courtesy of Married to the Sea, a webcomic you should probably read on a regular basis BONUS Speaking of Ophelia I don t have any earth shattering insights to share from this most recent of god knows how many readings, but this time through I was struck by 1 what a damn fine piece of stagecraft this is, from the suspenseful, moody opening on the castle battlements to the solemn dead march carrying the prince offstage, and 2 how Shakespeare seems to want Hamlet s personality particularly the wellspring of his actions and lack of action to remain an enigma, and that he achieves this by infusing the ch I don t have any earth shattering insights to share from this most recent of god knows how many readings, but this time through I was struck by 1 what a damn fine piece of stagecraft this is, from the suspenseful, moody opening on the castle battlements to the solemn dead march carrying the prince offstage, and 2 how Shakespeare seems to want Hamlet s personality particularly the wellspring of his actions and lack of action to remain an enigma, and that he achieves this by infusing the character with so much of himself so much wit and poetry, so much despondency and savagery that the result is that the audience simply bows before the great mystery of human personality, and that this reverence for the unknown lurking in the heart of an extraordinary man intensifies the sense of pity, horror and waste that fills us at the end of the play The Skinhead Hamlet Shakespeare s play translated into modern English By Richard Curtis Yes, that Richard Curtis Note those offended by the F word LOOK AWAY NOW And Georgia, if you ve stumbled on this review by your funny old dad this is ANOTHER Paul Bryant Not me ACT ISCENE IThe Battlements of Elsinore Castle Enter HAMLET, followed by GHOST GHOST Oi Mush HAMLET Yer GHOST I was fucked Exit GHOST HAMLET O Fuck Exit HAMLET SCENE IIThe Throneroom Enter KING The Skinhead Hamlet Shakespeare s play translated into modern English By Richard Curtis Yes, that Richard Curtis Note those offended by the F word LOOK AWAY NOW And Georgia, if you ve stumbled on this review by your funny old dad this is ANOTHER Paul Bryant Not me ACT ISCENE IThe Battlements of Elsinore Castle Enter HAMLET, followed by GHOST GHOST Oi Mush HAMLET Yer GHOST I was fucked Exit GHOST HAMLET O Fuck Exit HAMLET SCENE IIThe Throneroom Enter KING CLAUDIUS, GERTRUDE, HAMLET and COURT CLAUDIUS Oi You, Hamlet, give over HAMLET Fuck off, won t you Exit CLAUDIUS, GERTRUDE, COURT HAMLET Alone They could have fucking waited Enter HORATIO HORATIO Oi Watcha cock HAMLET Weeeeey Exeunt SCENE IIIOphelia s Bedroom Enter OPHELIA and LAERTES LAERTES I m fucking off now Watch Hamlet doesn t slip you one while I m gone OPHELIA I ll be fucked if he does Exeunt SCENE IVThe Battlements Enter HORATIO, HAMLET and GHOST GHOST Oi Mush, get on with it HAMLET Who did it then GHOST That wanker Claudius He poured fucking poison in my fucking ear HAMLET Fuck me Exeunt ACT IISCENE IA corridor in the castle Enter HAMLET reading Enter POLONIUS POLONIUS Oi You HAMLET Fuck off, grandad Exit POLONIUS Enter ROSENCRANZ and GUILDENSTERN ROS GUILD Oi Oi Mucca HAMLET Fuck off, the pair of you Exit ROS GUILD HAMLET Alone To fuck or be fucked Enter OPHELIA OPHELIA My Lord HAMLET Fuck off to a nunnery They exit in different directions ACT IIISCENE IThe Throne Room Enter PLAYERS and all COURT FIRST PLAYER Full thirty times hath Phoebus cart CLAUDIUS I ll be fucked if I watch anyof this crap Exeunt SCENE IIGertrude s Bedchamber Enter GERTRUDE and POLONIUS, who hides behind an arras Enter HAMLET HAMLET Oi Slag GERTRUDE Watch your fucking mouth, kid POLONIUS From behind the curtain Too right HAMLET Who the fuck was that He stabs POLONIUS through the arras POLONIUS Fuck POLONIUS dies HAMLET Fuck I thought it was that other wanker Exeunt ACT IVSCENE IA Court Room Enter HAMLET, CLAUDIUS CLAUDIUS Fuck off to England then HAMLET Delighted, mush SCENE IIThe Throne Room Enter OPHELIA, GERTRUDE and CLAUDIUS OPHELIA Here, cop a whack of this She hands GERTRUDE some rosemary and exits CLAUDIUS She s fucking round the twist, isn t she GERTRUDE Looking out the window There is a willow grows aslant the brook CLAUDIUS Get on with it, slag GERTRUDE Ophelia s gone and fucking drowned CLAUDIUS Fuck Laertes isn t half going to be browned off Exeunt SCENE IIIA Corridor Enter LAERTES LAERTES Alone I m going to fucking do this lot Enter CLAUDIUS CLAUDIUS I didn t fucking do it, mate It was that wanker Hamlet LAERTES Well, fuck him Exeunt ACT VSCENE IHamlet s Bedchamber Enter HAMLET and HORATIO HAMLET I got this feeling I m going to cop it, Horatio, and you know, I couldn t give a flying fuck Exeunt SCENE IILarge Hall Enter HAMLET, LAERTES, COURT, GERTRUDE, CLAUDIUS LAERTES Oi, wanker let s get on with it HAMLET Delighted, fuckface They fight and both are poisoned by the poisoned sword LAERTES Fuck HAMLET Fuck The QUEEN drinks GERTRUDE Fucking odd wine CLAUDIUS You drunk the wrong fucking cup, you stupid cow GERTRUDE dies HAMLET Pouring the poison down CLAUDIUS S throat Well, fuck you CLAUDIUS I m fair and squarely fucked CLAUDIUS dies LAERTES Oi, mush no hard feelings, eh HAMLET Yer LAERTES dies HAMLET Oi Horatio HORATIO Yer HAMLET I m fucked The rest is fucking silence HAMLET dies HORATIO Fuck that was no ordinary wanker, you know Enter FORTINBRAS FORTINBRAS What the fuck s going on here HORATIO A fucking mess, that s for sure FORTINBRAS No kidding I see Hamlet s fucked HORATIO Yer FORTINBRAS Fucking shame fucking good bloke HORATIO Too fucking right FORTINBRAS Fuck this for a lark then Let s piss off Exeunt with alarums