THEATRE REVIEW: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead starring Daniel Radcliffe


WHERE: Old Vic

WHEN: 27/2, press night 7/3, runs to 29/4

We see author Sir Tom Stoppard in the audience for this second preview of a production marking the 50th anniversary since his play was first staged at the Old Vic.

  • Read on for reasons including details of Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe’s performance

He looks happy enough at the show’s end and so he should be because this tale of two of the minor character’s from Shakespeare’s Hamlet is in safe hands.

Joshua McGuire and Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (wait! Is it the other way around?) are convincing as the friends who finish each other’s sentences and are often mistaken for each other.

They are childhood friends of Hamlet and we see them in the wings interacting with characters as the action from the main play happens around them. They are dispatched by boat to England with Hamlet and a letter for the king. Accompanying them are the Tragedians, a group of actors and musicians led by the Player (David Haig in charismatic and comic form) whose performance of The Murder of Gonzago for the royal court has caused them to flee Denmark.

Also worthy of mention as Alfred in the group is Matthew Durkan who cross-dresses to play female parts and with few lines gives a real sense of what it was to be part of such a troupe.

The comparisons with Beckett’s Waiting For Godot are well made as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern spend much time contemplating their fate, without much being able to influence it, on the fringes of the action.

It’s a very funny play and what with Stoppard’s Travesties starring Tom Hollander completing a successful West End transfer, the author is very much the current toast of theatre land.

The audience was young and very much in keeping with the type you’d imagine being enthusiastic about Radcliffe. All credit to him for taking on roles which are interesting and challenging and seeing him mature into an actor very much to watch, a world away from his child star past.

  • Picture by Helen Maybanks via Facebook courtesy Old Vic. Tickets
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