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The Review - THEATRE by TOM FOOT
Published: 21 May 2009
Hamlet at Theatro Technis
Hamlet at Theatro Technis
Bard’s Grecian homage

Theatro Technis

HAMLET hype is at an all time high with two cash-rich productions dominating the West End and starring celebrity actors, first David Tennant for the RSC and now Jude Law at Wyndhams.
Spare a thought then for the Tower Theatre Company, without a ­permanent home for eight years, and the
Theatro Technis playhouse, which somehow ­manages to stay afloat without any arts funding.
Now the company and the theatre have come together in a marriage of adversity – and it was good to see the new couple thriving on Sunday.
This is the first time Hamlet has been ­performed in its entirety at Theatro Technis. Its founder George Eugeniou told me he was ­convinced Shakespeare’s most famous play was inspired by Aeschylus’s Greek tragedy The Oresteia, a three-part trilogy first performed around 450BC.
This is likely to be the case; Shakespeare was an unashamed plagiarist, but I suspect the bard’s adaptation probes deeper into the mind of its ­protagonist.
Chris Paddon, an understudy on the night, played the Prince to great effect. He has an elastic face that stretched and contorted into an empire of expressions as his ­character lurches ­maddeningly into despair, anger and ­sarcasm.
In a fit of rage he scrawls “Murderer” in chalk beneath the throne, which appears to have grown out of the dead earth and is fastened to the wall by thickset weeds.
His father’s ghost opens Hamlet’s mind to the rotten world around him. It famously leads him to contemplate ­suicide, unable to cope with the unbearable ­burden of consciousness and the tedium of the world in which he lives.
His woes are chiefly directed at his scheming uncle Claudius, but what was most memorable about Paddon’s Hamlet was his extraordinary “get thee to a nunnery” broadside towards Ophelia. There is something wonderfully satisfying in watching this tormented soul rise up out of his gloom by telling everyone exactly what he thinks of them – and Paddon seemed to revel particularly in this one.
The Tower Theatre Company is a troupe of both professional and semi-professional actors that has been about for more than 75 years. It is no surprise that this production is expertly performed and thoughtfully directed, with clever illuminations and moving music. Recommended.
Until May 23
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