Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead

Lymington Players

The Malt, Lymington

The show that launched Tom Stoppard’s career at the Edinburgh Festival is based on a couple of interchangeable pawns in Hamlet. The comedy turns the Bard’s intention upside down, as these two – Rosencrantz (Matthew Stone) and Guildenstern (Chris March) take centre stage and are uniquely wonderful in their roles. They play dialogue table tennis at an amazing rate of knots, but their diction and physical characterisations are so fine that not a single meaning, antic or pun is lost. They are supported by a strong cast, with the talented director also playing the Player (Bruce Mackintosh). There is the use of many stage arts: mime, physical comedy and wordplay to enjoy too. The costumes are excellent and the set is simple and conceptualised but all of this was icing on the cake. The show whips along and finishes abruptly leaving the audience panting and contemplating the meaning of the many quandaries posed en-route.

Exhaustingly cerebral entertainment.

Rebecca Case