'Remember Me' is both a tribute and a parody, "a lip sync verbatim documentary", a sharp yet moving memento concerning one of the greatest plays ever written, and those who have tackled it. The production is a sort of Hamlet mixtape delivered exclusively from the extremely talented lips of intrepid drag fabulist Dickie Beau. It seamlessly weaves together past productions and interviews, featuring the great Richard Eyre, Sean Mathias and Ian McKellan, through the use of projections, silhouette and mime. This production truly elevates the practice of lip-syncing to another level. Beau manages to wonderfully capture the gestures and expressions of all the characters involved, particularly successfully those of the fantastically dry and quick-witted Ian Mckellan whose loveable, self-depreciating humour vitalises the show.
But the show is far more than just an impressive mime comedy; there is a method in this madness. The show explores the story of one particular Hamlet of which there is no recording or documentation. Ian Charleson performed Hamlet at the National Theatre in 1989 whilst seriously ill with AIDS. Though described by Ian Mckellan as "the perfect Hamlet", Ian Charleson tragically died in the January of the following year. The production creates a beautiful patchwork dialogue that acts as a most fitting eulogy to this theatrical great. “Remember me”, echoes the voice of the ghost of Hamlet’s father as Dickie Beau confronts us with Hamlet’s troubled musings on mortality, bleeding out of fiction and into reality. However this remembrance commemorates not just Ian Charleson, but all those who were taken prematurely from the world by AIDS and robbed of the opportunity to fulfill their potential.
On stage the delivery is minimal and stripped back, which lets the audience contemplate without distraction the haunting transience of the role of an actor embodying such a timeless character. Each Hamlet carries the weight of all the Hamlets before them and must deliver those lines “it is I” in the knowledge that many more Danes stand in wait to replace them. Dickie Beau is gleefully camp but also gravely serious and leaves one feeling both entertained and afflicted. The theatre is wondrous, magical, and tragic and this production accounts the often untold tale of the actor behind the Dane. - Oscar Lister