When Shakespeare’s Hamlet Came To Harare…

Shakespeare’s Hamlet came to Harare’s 7 Arts on Friday night as part of a world tour.

Hamlet
marcos c. / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Zimbabwe was the 91st country that the play has been to as Shakespeare’s Globe aims to take Britain’s biggest playwright export to the rest of the world.

It was a powerful night for Shakespeare buffs and novices alike as the powerful production mesmerised all present… bar one man who tried to ruin it for everyone answering his phone claiming he was in a meeting which those around us did not find amusing.

You could taste the chemistry in the cast.The way they switch between characters (some of the actors play more than one) so seamlessly is a thing of wonder.

Ladi Emeruwa’s Hamlet (He and  Naeem Hayat alternate playing the role) is powerful, believable and terrifyingly intense. Tom Lawrence is beguiling as Laertes while Keith Bartlett’s Polonious is absolute genius in its comic timing. Jazz singer/songwriter is particularly impressive as Horatio and other minor characters switching from one to the other with incredible skill.

The production’s choreography with the timing on set changes as entertaining as the play itself.

All in all it was a great night of theatre. Two years of conversations between Rooftop Promotions and Shakespeare’s Globe brought this to us.

Having been to places like Rwanda, Benin, Algeria, Mexico and the sort, Lawrence said that this one of their best nights out, mostly due to the audience’s understanding of theatre and Shakespeare as well as performance in a a conventional auditorium.

We hope that this is the first of many efforts to expand access to alternative art forms, most of which have been relegated to spaces outside the mainstream, neglected even.

The play is off to Zambia now and if you have a chance to watch it, do not ask ‘to go or not to go’. That is not even a question.

For more information on the show and its cast, click here.