The Garden Suburb Theatre (GST) is a friendly and welcoming amateur theatre company.

We are a registered charity promoting involvement in the Dramatic Arts in North London. We welcome anyone who wishes to learn more about drama, either by participating in or coming to watch one of our diverse programme of shows.


There are also more things in North London than you may have dreamt of and I was lucky enough to discover one of them last night. The Little Oak Wood is an outdoor theatre tucked away in a wood and is currently staging a truly wonderful production of Hamlet put on by the Garden Suburb Theatre (GST) Company.

Full disclosure - Hamlet is played by a very close personal friend of mine and in the opening scenes, it was sometimes difficult to distinguish between the man who I know as Steven and the tortured soul that he was playing. However, such was the brilliance of the performance that by the end, I can honestly say that he had entirely transformed into the tragic Prince of Denmark. He gives a performance of incredible range, tremendous depth and real physicality. We truly feel Hamlet's torment, his suffering and his loss.

I have singled out Hamlet's performance because it ranks as one of the best that I've seen. However, that is not to detract from the rest of the cast, who are excellent throughout. Ophelia's degeneration and demise is tragic, Claudius' duplicity is chilling and Polonious' meddlings and ultimate sufferings are by turns entertaining and heart-breaking.

Significant credit must go to director Nick Hastings, who has made such intelligent use of the space and the set - although there are no set changes, the company take full advantage of the outdoor setting and the stage therefore expands to include the entire audience.

Every time I engage with Shakespeare, I am reminded of the sheer volume of brilliant lines that still pervade our everyday speech. Time and again, phrases and sayings whose providence I'd forgotten or never known come forth. Probably the most famous of these is "To be, or not to be" and the delivery of the soliloquy containing it was arguably the highlight of a genuinely outstanding performance.

At 2 1/2 hours, this is a well-crafted, thoughtful and engaging production of a complex and disturbing play. The eternal themes of power and revenge, betrayal and loyalty, sanity and madness are explored and examined with verve and genuine understanding, thus achieving what only the best productions can - taking the specific and making them universal.

A summer's evening spent watching a great Shakespearean tragedy is always a delight - one of such high quality simply heightens the pleasure. The show concludes its run on 14 July - whatever it is you're doing over the next week, clear the diary and make your way to this outstanding staging of Hamlet.

Review by 'Culture Bloggers'

This is a review of Hamlet

The original review is here: London Culture Blog