Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 686. Friday, 29 October 1993.
Date: Friday, 29 Oct 1993 06:47:55 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Hamlet on CBC Radio
HAMLET TAKES TO THE AIRWAVES
The production stars Kenneth Branagh and two famous former Hamlets.
(London, Ontario Free Press staff)
There is a quality to radio that spreads a unique, dark texture to
Whether with wind and ill weather roaring as a backdrop, or with the
occasional visit from background music, such effects let the sinister and
psychological gain a special advantage in pinning down and holding the
Such an audio odyssey can be explored over four hours Monday and Tuesday
nights when CBC Stereo's The Arts Tonight presents Hamlet, a production
of the BBC in association with the Renaissance Theatre Company.
The radio production is the effort of Kenneth Branagh, who, besides
boasting an extensive list of stage productions of Shakespeare's work,
has also brought the playwright to the screen with film versions of Much
Ado About Nothing and Henry V.
STELLAR CAST: Branagh adapted, produced, co-directed and starred in this
radio presentation, and in this effort has engaged two famous former
Hamlets, Derek Jacobi and John Gielgud, who appear as Hamlet's father and
Rounding out the cast are Judi Dench as Gertrude, Richard Briers as
Polonius, Sophie Thompson as Ophelia, James Wilby as Laertes, Christopher
Ravenscroft as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and Emma Thompson as the
Using a fuller text than usual, Branagh's adaptation aims to give
characters the latitude to develop the full political and social context
of the play. Elsinore's stony corridors and sinister nooks and crannies
take on a rare chill.
Branagh played Hamlet with the Renaissance Theatre Company in 1988 and
repeated it in a new Britain's Royal Shakespeare Company production. In
between, he recorded this production for radio.
This Monday and Tuesday, 8:30 to 10:30 p.m.