Director and choreographer Peter Schaufuss' Hamlet plays its final performance August 28 as this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe comes to an end. The re-imagined and sold-out tragedy starring Tony winner Ian McKellen opened its run at the Ashton Hall at Saint Stephens Theatre August 4.
McKellen, who takes on the title role for the third time in his career, shares the lead with ballet dancer Johan Christensen as the production plays with how to present Hamlet's interiority and his external actions. The performance concept adapts Shakespeare's famous tragedy in a collaboration between McKellen and Schaufuss.
Also in the cast for the 75-minute production are Luke Schaufuss, Stefan Wise, and artists from the Edinburgh Festival Ballet Company. Following select performances, Q&A sessions called The Hamlet After Party followed performances in the Lower Hall at Saint Stephens.
“At a crucial moment in Hamlet," said McKellen in a statement, "Shakespeare describes in detail a dance, performed by the actors touring through Elsinore. Hamlet says, ‘What a piece of work is a man... how infinite in faculties, in form and moving, how express and admirable in action.’ The same could be said of Peter Schaufuss and his company of wonderful dancers. It’s inspiring to watch them, and work with them.”
READ: How Ian McKellen Turned a Hesitation Into a Moment of Brilliance in the Playbill Goes Fringe Live Blog
Featuring original music composed by Ethan Lewis Maltby and production design by Ben M. Rogers, the show inaugurates the new 400-set Ashton Hall at Saint Stephens Theatre in Edinburgh, which has been named in honor of the late choreographer Sir Frederick Ashton.
McKellen previously played Hamlet in 1971 on tour and in the West End and then again at age 81 in 2021 at the Theatre Royal Windsor.
For tickets and more information, visit CitizenTicket.co.uk.