Greater Manchester Fringe: Hamlet

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TO complete our build up to this year’s Greater Manchester Fringe, I sat with Hamlet star Franklyn Jacks, as he reveals the Truly Outrageous Production take on the famous Shakespeare play…

In the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, Hamlet returns to Manchester after an acclaimed, focused and vibrant production at Manchester Central Library earlier this year – this time moving to Joshua Brooks.

Sitting with up-and-coming actor Franklyn Jacks, he reveals that his character, the villainous Claudius, is an exciting challenge.

“It’s amazing!” he says, “I have never played a villain before so it’s great to take that on!”

Revealing details on how this production is different from the many incarnations of this famous Shakespearean tragedy, Jacks says they are, in fact, cutting down a large portion of the play’s running time.

“One of the things I like about it is we have condensed it down.

“A normal production of Hamlet could last about three hours, whereas ours runs for about one hour and 45 minutes.

“There are no gaps, so you can follow it how it’s meant to be.”

He then continues to assure fans that nothing will be left out, as they’re choosing to focus on “the bits we all know and appreciate”.

As the performance marks the 400th anniversary since the Bard’s death, the villainous star says the play marks a special outing to celebrate his life, especially since the production of the play nearly seized to exist.

“We always talked about doing something else and one stage it went quiet, but then we found out Fringe wanted to do it and now we’re going strong.”

Over the years, Claudius has been played by the likes of Sir Derek Jacobi and Sir Patrick Stewart. Joining theatre royalty in his portrayal, Jacks’ approach is to avoid the easy temptation of being a “pantomime villain”.

He said: “I kind of injected this kind of psychosis to it as he is manipulative and arrogant. You have got to be power mad to do the things he does.”

“The great thing with Manchester and the Fringe festival is that it’s a great way for people to be creative and get their work noticed.”


You can catch Hamlet as part of Greater Manchester Fringe at Joshua Brooks on the Friday, July 29 and Saturday, July 30. Tickets are available here.

By Nathan Smith


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