Hamlet the king is dead. Hamlet the prince is dead. All are dead but one. Horatio alone survives, standing amongst the fallen.

Hamlet our brother brings Horatio, the observer to a tragedy, centre stage in this one-man exploration into the aftermath of Shakespeare’s most famous play.

20 South Street presents the premiere of

Hamlet our brother

A version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet

by Julia Stubbs Hughes

5-9 April 2016 at the Jack Studio Theatre, London

With: Jeffrey Mundell.

Director: Timothy Stubbs Hughes. Designer: Karl Swinyard. Lighting: Katie Nicoll. Sound/Music: Philip Matejtschuk.

… draw thy breath in pain, To tell my story.

Whilst I was at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2009 with Second Skin Theatre’s production of Burn, I saw a young actor Bryan Kaplan perform in the other play which the company was producing at the festival, Knuckleball by William Whitehurst. Having always wanted to direct a production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet if I found the right actor for the lead role, I pitched my idea of creating a new one-man version of the play, titled hamlet redux, to Kaplan.

I then began a draft using only the soliloquies as a starting point but as other scenes from the play were incorporated, I retained the concept that I would use only Shakespeare’s text in this new version. Initially, the play was developed with Kaplan over a number of Skype sessions (as he was then based in New York) but then in a workshop in Los Angeles (where Kaplan had moved to) a new idea for the play formed. Rather than create a one-man Hamlet, I would tell the story from a different perspective – from the point of view of the character of Horatio. Familiar lines were newly interpreted and the journey of Horatio’s grief at the loss of Hamlet mirrored Hamlet’s grief at the loss of his father in Shakespeare’s play.

I returned from L.A. and continued adapting and eventually a draft, now titled Hamlet our brother, was ready for production. Wanting to produce the play in London as part of the 400th-anniversary celebrations of Shakespeare’s death and to see if the idea worked, the very talented Jeffrey Mundell who had been in Summer was cast and the production was premiered at the Jack Studio Theatre in April 2016.

Reviews for Hamlet our brother

‘Julia Stubbs Hughes has deconstructed the play and reconstructed it using only Shakespeare’s text to look at the events from the perspective of the survivor… she has created an intriguing monologue for an actor and Jeffrey Mundell rises splendidly to the challenge, delivering the famous set pieces handsomely and keeping the attention of the audience throughout… As a contribution to the 400th anniversary of his death celebrations this is certainly one of the more interesting offerings.’

ReviewsGate

‘Mundell’s intense, physical performance is fantastic, as are the design components. Karl Swinyard’s set, two rows of copper pipes forming a cell-like corner, is simple but creates striking shadows with Katie Nicolls’ lighting.’

The Play’s The Thing UK

‘Under Timothy Stubbs Hughes’ direction, Jeffrey Mundell has a heavy task: he has to reflect on Hamlet’s journey as Horatio and then also become all of Hamlet’s characters. With no one to play off of and with a vast amount of lines to deliver without an interval, Mundell’s focused commitment is very impressive… Katie Nicoll’s lighting design accompanies it very effectively, with clever, delicate lights… The music, composed by Philip Matejtschuk successfully aids the atmosphere of the piece, occasionally adding dramatic tension to the scenes.’

A Younger Theatre

‘All characters that feature in this version of Hamlet are played by Jeffrey Mundell, who displays a broad versatility, more than capable of handling the various emotions and personalities of different characters… Katie Nicoll’s lighting design is subtle and effective, and in a smaller studio space, some of Shakespeare’s lines are given a more understated treatment… if you like your one-actor one-act shows, you’ll very likely enjoy this one too.’

London Theatre 1