Three members of one real-life family – father, son and wife – bring Hamlet’s incestuous confusion of family life sharply into focus in a brand new production at Park Theatre. Starring Gyles Brandreth, Benet Brandreth and Kosha Engler, this take on Shakespeare’s epic drama fixes the spotlight on the myriad ways families make and un-make themselves.
In Hamlet – an epic drama with domestic tragedy at its heart – two fathers, a mother and a step-father make impossible demands on their children; sometimes it is their care that strangles and suffocates, sometimes it is their deeds and their deceptions which destroy. Meanwhile the children test their parents by their actions and their inaction; by their madness, both real and assumed. Ultimately, two families are destroyed.
Gyles Brandreth is best known as an author, broadcaster and former MP, a reporter on The One Show (BBC1) and a regular on Just A Minute (Radio 4). As an actor, he has played Malvolio in Twelfth Night (Riverside Studios), starred in his own award-winning musical revue in the West End and appeared in three five-star sell-out one-man shows at the Edinburgh Fringe. His most recent London appearance was as Lady Bracknell in a musical version of The Importance of Being Earnest (Riverside Studios).
Author, Shakespearean rhetoric coach and Gyles’ son, Benet Brandreth works regularly with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Donmar Warehouse and others on Shakespeare’s use of language. He has also written and performed for radio and the stage with his one-man show The Brandreth Papers at the Edinburgh Festival and its London transfer. He is also qualified as an instructor in the Filipino Martial Arts and as a stage combat choreographer.
Kosha Engler, wife of Benet, is a Baltimore-born actress, voice artist and writer. The voice of Maybelline UK since 2012, Kosha’s television credits include the Emmy-winning Hoff the Record (2015) and The Wire (2002). Her film credits include The Man with the Iron Heart (2017), Moonshot 2009) and Tuck Everlasting (2002).
Set round a family dinner table, claustrophobic and intense, obsessed with family ties and filial duty, Hamlet will be directed by Simon Evans, whose previous productions include The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Donmar Warehouse) and Midsummer Night’s Dream ( Southwark Playhouse).