William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Manor Gardens, Bexhill, July 25 - July 30

Hamlet (Max Maher) contemplates the skull of Yorick
Hamlet (Max Maher) contemplates the skull of Yorick

POOR old Yorick never gets to look any better as countless actors have performed one of the Bard’s greatest plays down through the centuries.

But the Bexhill Amateur Theatrical Society promises a fresh take on the tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, when it is staged in the lovely setting of Bexhill Old Town’s Manor Gardens later this month.

Hamlet is reputedly the longest of Shakespeare’s plays and on most calculations would run for four hours, but for the BATS purposes it has been cleverly abridged.

Society spokeswoman Dorothy Webb said: “The great and best known speeches have been kept intact, and an effort has been made to maintain the rich sweep of the plot and the development of the characters.

“There is a surprising amount of comedy in the text, and this has been retained in order to provide light relief and be true to Shakespeare’s vision and the equilibrium of contrasting forces.”

Other key elements of the play are indecision, retribution, deception, ambition, loyalty and fate, and scenes include the appearance of a ghost, a drowning and a duel.

The play, directed by Lawry Rhodes, will be performed at 7.30pm each evening from Monday, July 25 to Saturday, July 30. Audiences are invited to bring picnics, although hot drinks will be available during intervals.

Tickets cost £10 for adults and £7 for under 18s, and are available at the Bexhill Observer offices at 18 Sackville Road or on the door.