Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

– by Chantelle Pitt

I had always heard of this play from friends and family but had never given a thought to seeing it. But when I happened upon the event on Facebook, I just couldn’t resist. What are the chances of a coin landing heads-up time after time? Why should it matter? Rosencrantz and Guildenstern draw us in as they ponder the probability of this and the world of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Performed by the Murdoch Theatre Company, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is a truly unique piece of theatre. The events of the play take place during a small period of time only briefly mentioned in Hamlet. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern is a comedic imagining of Roz and Guil’s journey to find Hamlet and bring him before the English King.

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The stage was well imagined with a few props that were used repeatedly in different situations. This was the type of play that benefited greatly from using such a small space and using the intimate nature to create a personal relationship with the characters. While this play is absurdist (a form that I have never been greatly acquainted with), it explores themes such as meaninglessness of life, being lost in an incomprehensible universe or being trapped in a routine to great effect. In relation to this play, Roz and Guil find themselves trapped in a story where the only outcome has been written for them.

Thomas Dimmick (The Player) gives a standout performance. He portrays a truly wonderful mix of creepiness, wisdom and sexual innuendo. Due to unforeseen circumstances on the night that I attended, Roz was filled by stage manager Anna Weir. She did a wonderful job under the circumstances. Obviously the chemistry between Weir and the actor playing Guil (Andrew Dawson) was not as strong as it would have been with original Roz (Simon Meiri), but this was not due to the fault of the actors. All in all, the cast did well to adapt with the sudden change in casting and I believe it carried through well.

The cast was good and the story flowed well. This rendition of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead kept me interested and intrigued, even with the large amounts of dialogue. I would recommend this production to anyone that has never before seen absurdist theatre and is curious, or to anyone else that just wants a good laugh.


Warning: This show contains sexual references. Not advised for patrons under 15+

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead plays at the Drama Workshop, Murdoch University until the 13th of June. Information and bookings for the event can be found at the following website.

Images courtesy of David Cox.

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