Tab Meets: Hamlet
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE interviews the cast of Hamlet: A Sketch Show.
T’was a dry (yet squally) day in the autumn of ’14.
I sat ‘neath a tree, and wondered how many apostrophes it was appropriate to use per line. When lo! Before me appeared a trio:
“When shall we three meet again?” they asked. In unison.
“P’raps tomorrow?” suggested one. And so it came to pass that, upon the morn pursuing that squally yet dry day, I was seated in the luscious environs of Pembroke, interviewing Robert Eyers, Ed Elcock and Rachel Tookey: the writers and cast of Hamlet: A Sketch Show.
“Tell me,” I began. “Could you not think up your own title?”
“No,” answered Rachel, the lady comedian. “No.”
“So did you steal anything else from my play?”
“Literally nothing,” replied Robert – who definitely ranks in my top three favourite cast members. “Mainly because, on average, we’ve collectively read one third of Hamlet.”
“So,” I responded, moodily plucking at a daisy. A remarkably out of season daisy. “You mean that only one of you has really read my greatest work? And yet you name your show after it?”
“Exactly” they answered, once again in unison.
“Forsooth!” I cry, distraught now. “Do you even know how my characters are meant to speak?”
“Not particularly” came the reply. “Have you not wondered why your lines in this interview are so stereotypically Shakespearean yet nonetheless inaccurate?”
Worrying that the interview was becoming too meta, I decided to change tack.
“So, if none of your sketches are about Hamlet, what are they about?”
“Well, there’s quite a lot of stuff. There’s a serenade to the Political Consciousness of Cardboard. There’s the occasional pastiche of Dickens…”
“A second rate author at the best of times” I interject, flicking my moustache with a nearby quill.
“And,” Ed adds thoughtfully, “at the worst of times.”
“We invade an orphanage in space,” Rachel continues. “And there’s the creation of Broccoli Jelly. At one point ‘Adolf Hitler: Dragonslayer’ was on the cards, but he was quickly replaced by ‘Poirot and the Planet of Oranges’.
“How do you write this stuff?” I ask – finally, an interesting question.
“Well,” begins Robert. “We spend a lot of time together. Largely sitting in public toilets, watching the world go by…”
“And watching old men pissing,” interjects Ed, who has by now become my favourite.
“Yep, that too. And one day, we found a magical notebook, full of the ramblings of a crack addict. So we used them to form a sketch show.”
It’s at this point in the interview that I realise that if I don’t book my tickets for Hamlet: A Sketch Show really soon, they will all sell out. Which would be more tragic than… Hamlet.
So I take my leave of Robert, Ed and Rachel – and, indeed, this website, and I follow this here link.
Hamlet: A Sketch Show is playing in Pembroke’s New Cellars at 9:30, from Tuesday 25th Nov – Saturday 29th Nov. Tickets are £5/6.