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Theatre Review: There is nothing rotten about the state of this Hamlet

This version adapted for younger audiences portrays the Shakespeare classic without patronising viewers while keeping adults entertained at the same time

The cast of Hamlet adapted for younger audiences. Photo: (c) Ellie Kurttz

Hamlet
National Theatre, London, and then on tour

There is a welcome patter of tiny feet at the National. It has a hit on its hands with Hamlet that’s been especially adapted for the kids by Jude Christian and comes to the theatre after playing at schools across Wolverhampton and Liverpool.

It is a 65-minute straight-through version that, under the confident direction of Tinuke Craig, doesn’t patronise the children, and yet has sufficient fidelity to the original that it satisfies, too, the accompanying adults. I thought it interesting that young and old often laughed together, not least when Kiren Kebaili-Dwyer, in the title role, talked about what calamity ensues when “the ones in charge don’t follow the rules”.

There is, incidentally, a great star turn from Chanel Waddock – fresh out of drama school – as Laertes. It runs at the Dorfman until April 6, and then it’s back on tour to schools across Essex and Sunderland from April 18 to 29.

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