Review of Hamlet (Freeman’s Journal, 1904)

1.555-57. The Freeman’s Journal, (Dublin), Thursday, 16 June, 1904, 2.

A review of Hamlet from The Freeman’s Journal.

The following is an anonymous review of the production of Hamlet at the Gaiety Theatre on the 15th of June 1904 which appeared in the following day’s Freeman’s Journal. As in Mulligan’s skit on Stephen’s theory, the emphasis is in part an interestingly ‘modern’ one:


“Hamlet” was the play last night. The adequate representation of this famous creation of Shakespeare has taxed the talents of the greatest actors, and, we believe, there has been a very considerable amount of variance in the impersonations of Hamlet by different histrionic celebrities. Mrs. Bandmann-Palmer chose the part of the Prince of Denmark for herself last night, and, to say the least sustained it creditably. In other performances of the play it has sometimes struck the writer that not a sufficient amount of dazed terror is infused into the language and manner of Hamlet on beholding the dread apparition of his father’s spirit. A total change of voice and manner from what went before would seem to be demanded. Again, with respect to the ghost, one is tempted to wish that modern scientific resource could step in and substitute some kind of illuminated optical spectre for the flesh and blood figure that stalks the stage in a white dress and boots. True, the ghost has to make a speech, in which he relates the felonious manner of his taking off; but that could be done by somebody behind the scenes, and it would sound in a muffled way that would suit the situation exactly. One other remark as to the ghost scene. It is spoiled by the music, which is utterly incongruous with such a spectacle. Miss Margaret Wilson nicely sustained the part of Ophelia, and the other leading parts were — Claudius, King of Denmark[,] Mr. F. Skein; Polonius, Mr. H. F. Maltby; the Ghost, Mr Sydney Bland; Queen Gertrude, Miss May Grimshaw; and the Player Queen, Miss Gladys Jesson.
¶¶To-night the play will be “Leah.”