Toby SchmitzEvery generation feels the irresistible compulsion to attempt to stage this, the greatest play by the greatest playwright. Every new production becomes a strange mirror of the play itself: a new Hamlet encounters the ghost of an old Hamlet and puts on a play in order to find out how to really become Hamlet.

It takes the perfect combination of director and leading man to tackle this perennial conundrum – to face up to the ghosts and plunge into the thing itself with clear eyes.

Director Simon Stone is ruthless and visionary in his pursuit of the essential in a text. Surprisingly, this is the first time Stone has tackled Shakespeare. Despite (or perhaps because) being a huge enthusiast of the Bard’s work.

Toby Schmitz (Private Lives, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead – Sydney Theatre Company) is one of the great actors of his generation: quick, droll and fiendishly sharp. Hamlet is the natural next step in his theatrical partnership with Stone.

Emily Barclay (Strange Interlude) will play Ophelia with the brave commitment to character for which she is so admired. Theatrical royalty Robyn Nevin (Angels in America) and John Gaden (The Seagull) are Danish royalty as Gertrude and Claudius, with Greg Stone (Babyteeth) as the clownish Polonius and Anthony Phelan (Strange Interlude) as the ghost of old Hamlet.

Thomas Campbell (Downton Abbey) and Nathan Lovejoy (This Year’s Ashes – Griffin Theatre Company) make their Belvoir debuts as Laertes and Rosencrantz respectively.

This production puts a powerhouse cast in a room with an iconoclastic and incisive director and one of the greatest scripts of all time. Even we don’t know what will come out the other side.

Director: Simon Stone  Featuring: Emily Barclay, Luke Byrne, Thomas Campbell, John Gaden, Nathan Lovejoy, Robyn Nevin, Anthony Phelan, Maximilian Riebl, Toby Schmitz, Greg Stone  Set Designer: Ralph Myers  Costume Designer: Mel Page  Composer & Sound Designer: Stefan Gregory

Belvoir St Theatre, 25 Belvoir St, Surry Hills
Season: 16 October – 1 December 2013
Previews: 12 – 13 October 2013
Bookings: (02) 9699 3444 or online at: www.belvoir.com.au

For more information, visit: www.belvoir.com.au for details.

Image: Toby Schmitz by Gary Heery