William Shakespeare’s haunting play of murder, mayhem and madness is brought vividly to life in this radio adaptation. Recorded in 1971 with the late, great actor Ronald Pickup starring as the tragic Prince, Hamlet is a multi-layered play, revealed in all its complexity and lyricism.
When Hamlet’s mother remarries a short time after his father’s death, it sets wheels in motion. Hamlet is visited by his father’s ghost, who tells him that he was murdered and that it falls to him to avenge his death. The only question is - can Hamlet do it? Cracking at the seams, Hamlet debates his course of action, until setting out on a road that can only lead to tragedy.
Ronald Pickup was well known for his ability to wring meaning out of even the densest Shakespearean language, making this adaptation eminently listenable. His whip-cracking tones lend an air of urgency to his performance that keeps the pace of the play rolling along, and even during his introspective musings you feel that this Hamlet could spring into action at a moment’s notice. Supported by a fine cast, including Angela Pleasance and Maxine Audley, Pickup makes this play both accessible and moving, representing a tour de force in British Shakespearean adaptations.