Sherman and Friends are playing their show A Two Woman Hamlet at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in both live and on-denand versions.
Nicola Collett and Hannah Sweet play all the parts in this heavily abridged Hamlet, directed by Mara Sherman. Chunks of text are transposed and repurposed to bring focus on to the key moments of the play.
I’ve seen many Hamlets, both long and short, gender- and age-blind, dance, opera and avant garde. This one has strong chemistry between the performers, but suffers a little from a muddy sound mix best dealt with by using headphones.
Each character has their own prop (Ophelia is denoted by the wearing on a blue scarf) which helps us to follow what’s going on, delivered at a lightning-fast pace.
The Bard at speed delivery may give short shrift to some of the legendary speeches, but other moments work well, like the appearance of Old Hamlet’s ghost, or Ophelia’s closet scene.
Not taking itself too seriously, A Two Woman Hamlet manages to be riotously funny but also touching at moments. Each character, even those on the fringes of the play are captured with enough individuality to make their mark.
This is Shakespeare in sisterhood delivered with heart and verve: you can catch it live on 18-20 & 22-27 August at Greenside, or on demand throughout the Fringe.
*** (and a half)