Ian Mackellen Henry V (V) Sean Mathias prince Hamlet stage audience actor Ian Mackellen Henry V (V) Sean Mathias prince Hamlet

‘Hamlet’ Review: Ian McKellen’s Greatness Shines Intermittently in a Rudderless Production

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David Benedict Skeptics puzzling over the logic of watching 82-year-old Ian McKellen playing student prince Hamlet need only look as far as the play’s second scene in which Hamlet rebukes his mother. “I have that within which passeth show.” It’s an amplification of the line Shakespeare gave his chorus character ten years earlier in “Henry V”: “Let us … on your imaginary forces work.” Thus an age-blind, color-blind and gender-blind “Hamlet” is, in theory, perfectly valid.

In practice, however, Sean Mathias’ rudderless, torpid production at Theatre Royal Windsor stifles McKellen’s still-powerful potential.From the word go, the set creates problems.

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