Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: Ophelia’s Shadow

The Bard’s words and rock music – together! The story is taken from Hamlet, focusing on the tragic character of Ophelia.

Presented by Acoustic Theatre
Reviewed 28 February 2017

The Bard’s words and rock music – together! It is an interesting combination that doesn’t always gel. The story, as such, is taken from Hamlet, focusing on the tragic character of Ophelia. Used as a political pawn by her father and her king and abandoned by her sometime lover, is she the victim or in charge of her own destiny? Was she mad?

Played sweetly by Miriam Slater, Ophelia appears very much the victim, and although the title refers to a shadow, it may be more like a nightmare than a dream. The on stage musicians, Lucy Matthews on guitar and Hannah Feldman, blend well with the pre-recorded sound track and the rock is punchy, if a little loud in places. The disembodied off stage voice of Polonius is handled with dramatic effect by Joe Woodward. Ophelia’s two shadows played by Frances Mc Nair and Bambi Valentine are almost always on stage with her and provide the “Greek Chorus” like backing.

As Hamlet, Luke Middlebrook does well despite singing the ‘to be or not to be’ speech: he also doubles as Bernardo. Benjamin T. B. Russell also doubles as Laertes and Horatio. They both handle Shakespeare’s words with sincerity and do justice to their scenes. Jaymie Collins plays Francisco.

The production, adapted and scored by Lucy Matthews, is billed a feminist rock musical and attempts to blend Shakespeare with modern day ideas. It is not entirely successfully. Shakespeare purists will find the mix up of the text to fit the idea annoying. But full marks for trying something different.

Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Twitter: @franeds

Rating out of 5: 4

Venue: Bakehouse Theatre – Studio
Season:  24 Feb – 4 Mar
Duration:  55 mins
Tickets:  $18.00 –  $22.00


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