Tom Stoppard turns 80 this year -- so it is appropriate that theatreland is celebrating with new productions of two of his earliest successes. His 1974 play Travesties is currently back in the West End at the Apollo Theatre, transferred from the Menier Chocolate Factory. Now his first major success Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is being revived as well at its original London home the Old Vic, exactly fifty years after its 1967 professional premiere there (an earlier, shorter... Read more
Daniel Radcliffe returns to the London stage in a new production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. 50 years after its premiere at the Old Vic Theatre, Tom Stoppard’s Tony Award winning play returns to the same theatre for an anniversary celebration, directed by David Leveaux. Radcliffe takes on the role of Rosencrantz with Joshua McGuire as Guildenstern.
The celebrated play focuses on two minor characters from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, offering the audience the opportunity to see that story from another point of view. Several major characters from Shakespeare’s revered play appear in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and enact snippets from the original play, much to the delight of audiences. Our protagonists seem unaware of the part they play in Hamlet’s story, and find themselves constantly confused by the proceedings.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead debuted in its full form in 1966 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe before making its London premiere at the Old Vic on 11th April 1967. In the 50 years since its first performance it has been seen in several productions in London and New York, 2 radio broadcasts of the play have been performed and a film starring Gary Oldman and Tim Roth was released in 1990.
Set “in the wings” of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, this mind-bending tragicomedy centres on Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and the role they play in Hamlet’s story. Childhood friends of the prince, our hapless heroes find themselves out of their depth in Hamlet’s world, stumbling their way in and out of the main plot. Stoppard’s play is a literary hall of mirrors, an existential labyrinth of a crisis of identity all told with his unique expertise in blending comedy with tragedy.