The Tragedy of Hamlet premiered last year in Paris, where the British Brook has been based since the 1970s. Controversially, the director has cut more than a third from Shakespeare's original text and reduced the cast to just eight. Brook has said of his version: "Our task is not one of finding new ways of staging an old play - there's hardly a device left that hasn't been squeezed dry. This adaptation seeks to prune away the inessential, for beneath the surface lies a myth. This is the mystery that we will attempt to explore."
The Tragedy of Hamlet stars Briton Adrian Lester in the title role. The acclaimed young black actor's stage credits include Six Degrees of Separation and Company while, on film, he has appeared in Primary Colours, Love's Labour's Lost, Dust, The Final Curtain and Maybe Baby.
Lester is supported by an international cast featuring Natasha Parry (as Gertrude), Scott Handy (Horatio), Jeffery Kissoon (Claudius and the Ghost), Shantala Shivalingappa (Ophelia), Bruce Myers, Asil Rais and Rohan Siva.
The Tragedy of Hamlet is the second Brook production to visit the Young Vic this year. In January, Brook's production of Can Themba's South African township piece Le Costume (The Suit) played, for ten performances only, to rave reviews.
Peter Brook, now in his 70s, is one of Britain's most revered theatre directors, renowned for his experimental re-workings of classic texts. In the 1960s, he enjoyed a long association with the RSC, but by the early 1970s, Brook had moved towards an unconventional style that was often considered out of place at subsidised British theatres and in the West End. In 1971, he established the International Centre of Theatre Research (CICT) in Paris, which remains his base.
Brook's many notable successes include celebrated productions of King Lear, Marat/Sade, Midsummer Night's Dream, The Cherry Orchard and Carmen. On screen, he is best known for directing the 1963 film adaptation of William Golding's Lord of the Flies.
The Tragedy of Hamlet is adapted and directed by Brook in artistic collaboration with Marie-Helene Estienne. Costumes are by Chloe Obolensky, lighting by Philippe Vialatte and music by Toshi Tsuchitori.