Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
On the night of Saturday the 28th of April I saw a delightful new take on
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead at Brisbane Arts Theatre. Director
Natasha Kapper’s interpretation of Tom Stoppard’s absurdist classic is bold,
engaging and intelligently frivolous.
I’ve seen Rosencrantz and Guidenstern Are Dead performed countless times
and can say honestly that this is the most entertaining rendition yet. Like a
treacherous tightrope act, this play maintained a precarious balance between
absurdist philosophy and the wild clownish energy of slapstick humour. The
cast performed acrobatics ‘midst discussions of probability, death and truth
So rarely in theatre is one able to truly suspend disbelief and enjoy a
production without seeing actors acting, the set changing... But this play
doesn’t want you to believe that it is real; instead it causes you to question
the reality and permanence of everything else as having any more meaning or
sense than the actions of actors on a stage. What if life were a play, and we all
had lines but no script? Endless entrances, but only one exit, death. This is the
dilemma posed to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
David Mines and Daniel Frawley are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern… or,
Guildenstern and Rosencrantz. Who is who and which is which is never made
certain, either to the audience or to the characters. Whichever characters,
they were in fact playing, these two had such a fantastic dynamic and presence
between them it is hard to imagine one without the other.
For me though, the show was stolen by The Player, Vanja Matula. He was imbued
with so much versatility, talent and charisma that I believed every gesture,
every word and forgot that he was a man on a stage, playing a player.
The rest of the cast were great, especially Connor Clarke as ‘Alfred’ and Trevor
J. McMillan with his hysterical facial expressions (I nearly fell off my seat after
seeing his dumbshow imitation of Claudius).
All of this was seamlessly supported by the production team, I never noticed
them, except perhaps for the occasional quirky touch of a costume or the smooth transition of lighting.
This play is perfect for anyone who has ever questioned the meaning of life
or the banality of death and been unsatisfied with the lack of solid answers.
Brisbane Arts Theatre offer you no answers and will probably send you home
with more even more conundrums then you arrived with. Never fear though,
philosophical puzzles are included in the price of admission.
Bookings available from: http://www.artstheatre.com.au/index.php?page_id=3