Re-Member Me ★★★ Hampstead Theatre | May 25 - Jun 17, 2023

Re-Member Me is not so much a deconstruction of Hamlet as a series of commentaries by various actors who have performed the role. Dickie Beau lip-syncs the remarks of some great interpreters of the Danish prince as they share anecdotes about their performances. Unfortunately, a lot of the significance of these recollections is probably lost if you can't recognise the actors from their voices alone or if you don't know who they are in the first place. The main focus is on Ian Charleson who replaced Daniel Day-Lewis when he withdrew from a production of the play at the National Theatre. Charleson's performance as he was dying of AIDS gets a lot of time and is poignantly recalled by his contemporaries. Apparently, the show intends to address many of the big questions such as mortality, memory and meaning that are central to Hamlet itself, but it all seems rather abstract and intellectualised. Despite the references to Charleson's death and the scourge of HIV, the piece doesn't have much emotional impact. Indeed, it all seems like a piece of performance art intended for theatre insiders or literary scholars. Even the intercutting of pop culture allusions to Star WarsYentl and the opening mime of the Village People's "Y.M.C.A." hit, seem rather freighted with meaning. Beau's lip-syncing skills are impressive and the use of video and mime work well together, but Re-Member Me might have a rather limited audience.

Rated: ★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Tristram Kenton.

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