Côr y Dreigiau Newport Gwent Dragon’s Choir gave a wonderful performance of many favourite songs both in Welsh and English to the gathering audience in Caerleon’s Roman Amphitheatre. It was a perfect start to the evening and the drama that was to follow.
Hamlet at the Amphitheatre Some of Shakespeare’s best known lines reverberated around the Roman Amphitheatre this weekend, thanks to the extraordinarily well preserved acoustics. No, not in the setting of the Rome of Coriolanus or Julius Caesar, but in the rotten state of Denmark, bloody deeds and all that. The all male cast of the Festival Players’ Hamlet production reminded us forcefully of the dangers of power politics, regicide and the devastating consequences created by a ghostly King – a medieval Danish Wikileakes- who revealed dark secrets which led to mayhem, madness and death
Of course his father’s murder by his uncle could have been a figment of Hamlet’s imagination, fuelled by an Oedipus complex and jealousy of his uncle’s marriage to mother. The plot line, familiar to generations of Shakespearean audiences, worked well in the setting of the Amphitheatre, and the Festival Players threw themselves into the gruesome theme with passion and conviction. There were touches of spontaneous comedy to lighten the mood, something which has endeared the Festival Players to Caerleon Festival audiences in past years with more lighthearted plays such as “As You Like It”. But they tackled this difficult tragedy with strongly delivered lines and
an aura of confidence.
Once again the Festival Players made a major contribution this week to Caerleon Festival’s programme of events.