Programme Notes
Quotes on Hamlet
Stage History
Story, Dates, Sources, Texts, Cuts
William Shakespeare

Current Shows
Dostoevsky's Heaven & Berkoff's Hell
Graft - Tales of an Actor
Stunning the Punters
The Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel of Matthew by Candlelight
The Man Who Was Hamlet
Past Shows
Against the Odds
Dostoevsky's Dream of a Ridiculous Man
Ecce Homo
Hell & Other Tales
The Remembrance of Edgar Allan Poe
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Dillon in Brighton
Dillon in Edinburgh
Dillon & Berkoff
Berkoff on Dillon
George Dillon

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Photos by David Usill & Charlie Baker
George Dillon as Hamlet, photo by Charlie Baker Denise Evans as Gertrude and George Dillon as Hamlet, photo by Charlie Baker Simon Merrells as Horatio, Ross Gurney-Randall as Marcellus and George Dillon as Hamlet, photo by David Usill Beth Fitzgerald as Ophelia and George Dillon as Hamlet, photo by Charlie Baker Colin Fisher as Polonius and George Dillon as Hamlet, photo by David Usill


by William Shakespeare

Shakespeare's greatest tragedy stripped bare. Two hours of sex, comedy, murder & madness!

An incredible Hamlet.  George Dillon's production brilliantly taps into the headlong madness of the play... It's fast, physical and frequently hilarious. Unmissable. 

This is a bizarre production that will infuriate as many as it inspires.  You can only go and make up your own mind. 

An ensemble of seven performers, two musicians and a talking dog use minimal settings and maximum imagination to create a players' Hamlet; a feast of raw acting power.  Hamlet, often misconceived as a delicate melancholic, is here revealed as Shakespearean audiences saw him - the assured and angry avenger, disguising his true intentions behind the mask of insanity - a classic Man of Action.  

A fusion of theatrical traditions - European and Japanese, classical and modern - and a diverse range of music both live and recorded, ranging from Noh-inspired flute & drum, via Jazz saxophone and minimalist violin to the mock heroics of Sergio Leone and even Pulp Fiction!  This Hamlet is, paradoxically, both uniquely original but also studiously faithful to Shakespeare and makes for a highly accessible, entertaining, and provocative theatrical experience. 

I thought I knew Hamlet - until George Dillon got hold of it!  His version starts with one of the most audacious decisions in theatrical history.  I was deeply curious to see what Dillon would do with Hamlet, and now see what all his previous adulatory reviewers were on about.  He is physical, intense, a chameleon of an actor.  One moment he is tearing your heart out, the next he is clowning around.  His unusual face can transform itself from tragic melancholy to malignant imp in a flash.  Hamlet needs a dangerous actor to play him, and George Dillon is one such, with both the physical and vocal discipline to carry the whole thing off. I recommend it highly.
Scintillatingly Shakespearean, feverish and compelling, the production draws its inspiration, in terms of courtly hierarchy from Japan; the company come kitted out in vaguely Samurai costume, Hamlet and Laertes fling themselves into kendo combat, and impassive musicians sit at either side of an otherwise bare stage.  In terms of acting, it is full throttle School of Berkoff; swift and brutal, the seven actors posturing, scuttling, roaring and whispering, snatching each moment for instant effect.  Hurling aside the less-is-more style of acting, Dillon frequently gives us the exact reverse.  His Hamlet, already hyperactive, is, when feigning madness, absolutely barking.  Behind all this simmers a restless, constrained maverick, a natural fighter contemptuous of his fellow man and finally brought low by cool, malign authority. You can't take your eyes off it for a second.  Dillon's performance bursts with swaggering vitality.  It is never less than idiosyncratic, and alternately perverse, virile, willful, illuminating and extravagant, and sometimes all five at once.  His vocal control is astonishing. 
I can honestly say George Dillon's Hamlet is one of the most entertaining productions I've seen.  It's full of innovations. George is an exceptional talent and the role could have been written for him. Few productions of this play hold the attention as much as this because you never know quite what to expect. 
As director Dillon has drawn on the notion of Hamlet as a potential Everyman by treating the play as a meeting point of theatre traditions, (Hamlet as samurai) while comic buffoonery surrounds Guildenstern and Rosencrantz, the one a camp figure, the other a gruff glove puppet dog - palace poodles the pair. Unsurprisingly for someone who has worked closely with Steven Berkoff, Dillon provides a strongly physical theatre, often to thrilling effect.  No, not the complete Hamlet but as vital and alive as you'll find.

More reviews...

George Dillon's Tour Dates

(as of Saturday, 25 March 2017)

Show              Date                     TOWN, Venue               


The Gospel of Matthew by Candlelight will be touring to churches in the South East during Lent 2017 (1st March - 14th April).
Tickets for all church performances are 10/(5 concessions) and will be available on the door or in advance online via:
Book now
(booking fees apply)
Tickets may also be bought in advance by phone:
0333 666 3366
(booking fee and 1.50 telephone service fee applies)

Tickets will also available in person from most church offices.

If you would like to see a performance in YOUR church, please contact George Dillon.
The Gospel of Matthew by Candlelight 7pm, Saturday
25th March 2017
Phoenix Centre

01420 472664
The Gospel of Matthew by Candlelight 7pm Sunday
26th March 2017
St Mark's, Kennington
The Gospel of Matthew 7.30pm, Tuesday
28th March 2017
Leatherhead Theatre

01372 365141
The Man Who Was Hamlet 7:30pm Wednesday
29th March 2017
Maddermarket Theatre

01603 620917
The Gospel of Matthew by Candlelight 7pm Thursday
30th March 2017
St Mary-at-Hill, Eastcheap


The Gospel of Matthew by Candlelight 7pm Saturday
1st April 2017
St Barnabas, Southfields
The Gospel of Matthew by Candlelight 7pm Sunday
2nd April 2017
St Silas, Pentonville
The Gospel of Matthew by Candlelight 7:30pm Saturday
8th April 2017
All Saints, Hove
The Gospel of Matthew by Candlelight 7:30pm PALM SUNDAY
9th April 2017
St Barnabas, Ealing
The Gospel of Matthew by Candlelight 7:30pm Monday
10th April 2017
St George's
The Gospel of Matthew by Candlelight 7:30pm Tuesday
11th April 2017
St Luke's (Queen's Park)
The Gospel of Matthew by Candlelight 7pm Wednesday
12th April 2017
St Peter's
The Gospel of Matthew 7.30pm, Thursday
13th April 2017
Taliesin Arts Centre

01792 602060
The Gospel of Matthew by Candlelight 7:30pm GOOD FRIDAY
14th April 2017
All Saints, Hove
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[Updated - 19 March 2006]
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