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Citizens Theatre


Hamlet’s father is unexpectedly dead. Returning home from university, he is shocked to discover that the funeral wake has rapidly turned into a celebration of his mother’s remarriage to the dead man’s brother.

Then one night, a visit from beyond the grave confirms Hamlet’s worst fears and sets him on a bloody path to madness, murder and revenge.

Brian Ferguson takes on the title role of the troubled Hamlet. Roberta Taylor - well known for her lead roles in The Bill and EastEnders and a regular performer at the Citizens during the 1980s – joins forces with her husband and stage and screen actor Peter Guinness to play Gertrude and Claudius.

Dominic Hill directs Shakespeare’s brutal and gripping tragedy of a family falling apart under the weight of suspicion, murder, infidelity and grief.

An Afternoon with The Dane

Sat 27 Sep, 11:45am - 12:45pm
A pre-matinee event with conversation, questions and lunch provided.


Schools Events

We have three schools workshops for Hamlet:
• Inside the Rehearsal Room,
• Inside The Play,
• Inside A Professional Technical Rehearsal

Find out more here.

One may smile, and smile, and be a villain

Main Theatre

View seating plan

    User Rating

    Rated: (4/5), based on 5 ratings

Previews 19, 20, 23 Sep
Audio Described 1 Oct
Signed 3 Oct (BSL Interpreters - Yvonne Strain / Catherine King)
Captioned 4 Oct, 7.30pm

Wheelchair Access
Guide Dogs welcome
Induction Loop

Cast & Creative Team >

Director - Dominic Hill
Design - Tom Piper
Lighting - Ben Ormerod
Sound - Nikola Kodjabashia
Assistant Director - Gareth Nicholls
Fight Director - Raymond Short


Adam Best - Laertes / Rosencrantz
Cliff Burnett - Polonius
Cameron Crighton - Guildenstern / Player Queen
Martin Donaghy - Horatio
Brian Ferguson - Hamlet
Peter Guinness - Claudius
Ben Onwukwe - Gravedigger / Ghost / Player King
Roberta Taylor - Gertrude
Meghan Tyler - Ophelia


“a version that simmers with an edgy intensity”
The Herald ★★★★

“a powerful rendition of a script often dulled by familiarity, allowing Hill to stand alongside his artistic ancestors as a bold, imaginative and careful director.”
The Stage ★★★★

The Guardian ★★★★

“as nail-biting and oppressive as the darkest noir thriller”
The Times ★★★★

“thrilling and fascinating…[Brian] Ferguson’s brave and ground-breaking central performance”
The Scotsman ★★★★

“by any measure, a world-class production”
Sunday Herald

“a phenomenal production”
TV Bomb ★★★★


“What I liked about the Citz roles was they broke the moulds” Brian Beacom speaks to Roberta Taylor about her history at The Citizens Theatre ahead of her performance in Hamlet. The Herald

“...cracking it [Hamlet] open has been mind-boggling, really, to get the opportunity to crawl around inside it has been incredible.” Neil Cooper speaks with Brian Ferguson about playing the title role in Hamlet. The Herald

”...having worked for 38 years in the business I would say my strongest work was done here.” Brian Beacom talks to Roberta Taylor about her career and the important role the Citizens Theatre played in it. Evening Times



5th October 2014

Absolutely loved it. Riveted to my seat.

Ian McSeveny

5th October 2014

In this Shakespeare's poem unlimited where no word is without an echo the ever present individuals on the stage in layers of darkened light and sound serve brilliantly to illustrate the mind of this most wracked individual. All the characters around Hamlet respond accordingly, progressively, from hurt, confusion and intimidation to violence - suicide and self preservation. The cast suited well their actions to the words. But this Hamlet, brilliant in madness, lacked a little, I think, in the intellectual engagement in sanity. Where was the noble reason, the beauty of the world? But, no doubt, an exceptional triumph - a hit, a palpable hit!

Mags Shovelin

3rd October 2014

Had my first experience of Shakespeare yesterday at the Citizen`s. Wasn't sure what to expect, but absolutely loved it. Dominic Hill done a fabulous job. The cast were fantastic. This is our first show at the Citizen`s and we are already planning our next one. Big thanks to all front of house staff also, a friendly bunch of people.

Liz Anne Jaffray

26th September 2014

I took my teenage son to his first Shakespeare. We both loved this performance. All the cast shone. It was easy to follow for my son and captivating. Funny, tense, scarey and sad by every turn. I loved the mix of young Scots and others too from our local conservatoire mixed with familiar faces from screen and TV. It was a great evening. Well done to all at the Citizens.

Alastair McIver

24th September 2014

I'm not at all certain this quirky version of Shakespeare's play isn't intended to be a comedy. Brian Ferguson, in the role of Hamlet, showed absolutely none of the emotional depth which is vital to understanding of the play. We never get to like Hamlet, or get the impression that he is the endlessly complicated character Shakespeare wrote. What was supposed to be symbolised by dead characters wandering around plucking fiddles I'm not sure, but it got worse. While the death of Ophelia is being mourned, she is in fact at the edge of the stage in a lit up purple bath, blowing bubbles. I had to describe this in hushed whispers to my partially-sighted girlfriend, and realised too late that I could not do this without both of us dissolving in giggle - which I swear we kept as quiet as possible! Then, to add insult to hilarity, shi walks into her own grave! I am sadly reminded of the dreadful re-imagining of Romeo an Juliet from the movie Hot Fuzz. Apart from at the end (when the climactic swordfight was accompanied by a drumroll just in case we didn't pick up on the fact that it is dramatic) all swords were replaced with guns. Polonius is shot instead of stabbed (three times, with absolutely no attempt to dampen the sound), and Hamlet points a gun at his own head during the most famous speech. Obviously we are not smart enough to garner that he is suicidal without this visual clue... A similar underestimation of the audience's intelligence is made when Hamlet over-emphasises his bawdy "Country matters" pun by pausing for a fortnight between the relevant cyllables. That play on words is no longer subtle! Production values are also at an all-time low, with the sound so distorted in places that the dialogue can't be discerned, and an absence of curtains showing us a clear view of everything going on behind the scenes. Or perhaps this is supposed to be symbolic of something too, and I'm just not smart enough to get it? The travesties committed are too numerous to list, but the worst of them is that Hamlet inexplicably tries to rape Ophelia while making his "to a nunnery" speech. This is disturbing (not in a good way!), potentially triggering, adds nothing, and serves to destroy all audience sympathy for the character, which is essential if we are to be moved by his fate. It seems that the play falls victim to a director's need to be "edgy" over actual emotional engagement. This is the first time I have ever not enjoyed a visit to the Citz. Very poor show. Save your money, folks - give Hamlet a miss!


22nd August 2014

Hello Heather, This production of Hamlet is the original Shakespearian language, however it has been shortened in places.

Heather Logan

18th August 2014

Hi there, I was wondering if this play is an adaptation of the original using contemporary language or is it fully performed in Shakesperian language? many thanks, Heather.

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