Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead
Directed by David Leveaux
The Old Vic
An evening enjoying a screening of a National Theatre Live production is always a glorious evening. And that couldn’t be more true for The Old Vic’s production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Tom Stoppard's work of genius was brought to life once again in this stunning new production celebrating the play's 50th anniversary.
David Leveaux brings a new life to Stoppard’s witty work. He perfectly encapsulates the weird and spiritual nature of Stoppard’s words and creates a word that feels wise, yet modern. The play makes the audience question their world, and left me, at least, striving to find a purpose for our existence. Ann Fleischle’s open stage design translated as well on screen as it did in the theatre. Although her design elongates the stage and opens the players up to a vast word, one can still feel the claustrophobia of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern's anxious mind.
The most captivating aspect of the show was the production’s leading men, Joshua McGuire and Daniel Radcliffe. McGuire excelled as Guildenstern, the more hyper-neurotic of the pair. He perfectly executed Stoppard’s wordy dialogue, never missing a comedic or sensitive beat. Radcliffe, less dominant and engaging than McGuire, explores the many emotional sensitives of Rosencrantz’s arch. The duo make a perfect pair, captivating and entertaining throughout the entire two and half hours, truly bringing Stoppard’s characters beautifully to life. One could never bore from this fantastic pair.
The production continues to triumph with its third star, David Haig’s, exceptionally crafted performance as The Player. He brilliantly performs the role as the seasoned actor he is and absolutely steals every scene. His monologue on actors was so electric, I felt a desire to spring to my feet in a standing ovation.
The entire production bursts with life, leaving the audience amused yet befuddled, optimistic yet pessimistic. The play was perfectly paced, not once did the audience bore of the comedic musing of the quirky characters. By the end of the show, I felt energized from the crazy, wild whirlwind of alliteration and wordplay of Stoppard’s reinvented masterpiece.