Oliver Dench goes solo with One-Man Hamlet at Henley Fringe Fest


Shakespeare’s Hamlet is known as being one of the Bard’s longer plays but it will be a testament to the tenacity of audiences in Henley as to whether they can watch a performance over five nights.

But this is an exceptional production being performed by just one actor.

The newly formed Revolve Theatre Company, which has managed to attract Dame Judi Dench as its patron, is showcasing its first production at this years’ Henley Fringe Festival .

One Man Hamlet will see a lone actor, RTC’s artistic director Oliver Dench, playing all 15 roles from Shakespeare’s original text.

The show will be held at the Henley Town Hall Chambers over a period of five days from July 21-26.

Judi Dench, whose stage and screen roles have seen her perform in a number of Shakespeare’s plays, including the role of Ophelia in Hamlet.

She serves as an advisor to the American Shakespeare Center and Shakespeare Schools Festival.

After meeting together at work, Tom Smith, Oliver Dench and Joe Morris decided to pool their performance and technical skills to offer something new and exciting to the Oxfordshire and Berkshire theatre scene.

Their motive is to strip the vanity and indulgence from theatre and take it back to the art using theatre as a tool for purpose, rather than an end to itself.

RTC is setting out to inspire young minds and promote the power of theatre in educational establishments by taking One-Man Hamlet around local schools after their HFF opening.

Said Oliver Dench: “We firmly believe that the common aversion to Shakespeare’s language stems from a lack of exposure to it.

“Students are forced to study plays in school to a certain level, often with teachers who don’t fully understand the beauty of the language.

“The emphasis is put on the drama, rather than the poetry (Shakespeare’s real gift to the literary world).

“Once students become exposed to the occasionally strange syntax and vocabulary of Shakespeare, it becomes far more understandable.

“The language was written to be heard, not read; it is for this reason that we feel it is so important to show children Shakespeare, rather than have them read it, before they make the conscious decision that it is boring, or difficult, or old, or a host of other adjectives that we have heard applied.”

Tickets are on-sale now via the festival website www.henleyfringe.org/ or call on 01491 578631

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