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on 12 June 2009
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead is an intriguing exercise in the theatre of the absurd. It is comic, touchingly focussed on the two characters (although we can assume they are actually very much a single thing) and also serious, poetic and brilliant. Nowhere else in Stoppard's work or in a great deal of texts is there such a gloriously successful mix of the absurd and the sensitive; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern's meditations on life, death, drama, existentialism and Hamlet are for the most part excellent pieces of writing on their own. To have them within the framework of this readable and ultimately very funny piece of drama just confirms my belief that Tom Stoppard is one of the most important and underrated writers we have.
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VINE VOICEon 12 May 2015
Screen plays serve several purposes; when the follow the film closely you get to slowdown and have time to savor the nuances. They also work as an external memory so you can revisit your favorite parts of the story. I could not tell my shoe was untied unless it was pointed out. I use screen plays to point out what I may have overlooked in a moment of contemplation.

This particular book also has a few black & white stills.

The scene closes in on Rosencrantz & Guildenstern or is it Guildenstern & Rosencrantz discussing the odds of a flipped coin coming up heads. What seems to be a casual curiosity is the setting for the eventual outcome of the story. If the names sound familiar then you will recognize them from the play "Hamlet". Their story was never fully told until now.

Through out the film we get snippets of Hamlet and visions of what is to come. The real fun is in the fact that the dialog and the actors could have easily been seamlessly slipped into the original play.

Their play on words not only matches Shakespeare but a good dose of Lewis Carroll; "Toes on the other hand"," Don't you mean the other foot?"

Disperses through the story Rosencrantz (Gary Oldman) makes all the great discoveries from gravity to flight to steam engines and so forth. Every time he goes to show them to Guildenstern (Tim Roth) they are overlooked, or dismissed.

The only person that was a tad over the top, acting like he was acting wad Richard Dreyfuss as the leader of the acting troop. However this is one movie that you can get away with it.
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VINE VOICEon 10 April 2010
Screen plays serve several purposes; when the follow the film closely you get to slowdown and have time to savor the nuances. They also work as an external memory so you can revisit your favorite parts of the story. I could not tell my shoe was untied unless it was pointed out. I use screen plays to point out what I may have overlooked in a moment of contemplation.

This particular book also has a few black & white stills.

The scene closes in on Rosencrantz & Guildenstern or is it Guildenstern & Rosencrantz discussing the odds of a flipped coin coming up heads. What seems to be a casual curiosity is the setting for the eventual outcome of the story. If the names sound familiar then you will recognize them from the play "Hamlet". Their story was never fully told until now.

Through out the film we get snippets of Hamlet and visions of what is to come. The real fun is in the fact that the dialog and the actors could have easily been seamlessly slipped into the original play.

Their play on words not only matches Shakespeare but a good dose of Lewis Carroll; "Toes on the other hand"," Don't you mean the other foot?"

Disperses through the story Rosencrantz (Gary Oldman) makes all the great discoveries from gravity to flight to steam engines and so forth. Every time he goes to show them to Guildenstern (Tim Roth) they are overlooked, or dismissed.

The only person that was a tad over the top, acting like he was acting wad Richard Dreyfuss as the leader of the acting troop. However this is one movie that you can get away with it.

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead
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on 17 February 2007
If you know your HAMLET and you know your WAITING FOR GODOT, this will be one of the most engaging pieces of theatre you have ever seen or read. It is simply a sensational bit of writing: funny, erudite, challenging, obtuse etc etc. If however you dont know those two other texts, then you're in trouble. As I was, the first time I saw this.
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VINE VOICEon 1 April 2003
This play is often compared to "Waiting For Godot", most unfairly in my view, as Stoppard's early masterpiece is, above all else, brilliantly funny. Not in the way of an ironic, navel-gazing comedy about the horror of life, but in the way that makes the audience laugh out loud with genuine laughter.
Actually, of course, it IS about the horror of life, and of modern life at that, many of the greatest comedies have a tragic undercurrent, think of Sir Toby's "Chimes at midnight" speech giving texture and shadow to the sunny japes of "Twelfth Night", or of Woody Allen's best films, hovering over the line of comedy and neurotic bathos ("The Purple Rose of Cairo"..."Radio Days".)
Here, the early speech about a man who sees a unicorn sets a tone of lonely wistfulness that the blatant failures of the protagonists to match up to the epic events unfolding around them, obvious even to the duo themselves, continues throughout the play.
An odd effect of seeing only snippets of "Hamlet" is to make that work seem a real action packed epic. In reality, perhaps, "Hamlet" itself is very similar to "Rosencrantz and Guildernstern are Dead", the heroes of both prove in the end, despite endless talking and dithering, indecisive and inadequate.
Stoppard's work is an updating of Shakespeare's, and a comment on the modern world, in that his heroes are not given the redeeming power of poetry. For them, the unicorn is always a deer...with an arrow in its head....
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on 21 April 2014
I first saw this play at the Edinburgh Festival, long before it became the property of the National Theater. It was remarkable then and a close reading of this text proves that it is one of Stoppard's greatest scripts.

The plot is simple. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are in the (metaphorical/literal) wings of the great events going on stage in Hamlet's struggle for vengeance on the man who murdered his father and usurped the throne.

R and G are 'bit players' in these tragic events and yet the plot unfolds through their eyes.

Brilliant device, making for thrilling but at times, profoundly disturbing, drama. The fact that these two 'spies' are themselves doomed only adds to the tension.
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on 4 April 2014
Got this as I love the play - the type is clear and no-nonsense. The play itself a sly poke at Shakespeare's 'Hamlet' and imagines a parallel universe where Hamlet is not a play but reality - in that world, what do the characters do to amuse themselves when they are not 'on stage'?
You might not enjoy this play so well if you have no knowledge of 'Hamlet', but I think it would be pretty good anyway as the ideas are so comical. You really feel for poor Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (or was it Guildenstern and Rosencrantz?) as their deaths approach and the other characters seem to know more than they do.
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on 19 September 2013
Post-modern, nilhistic, thought prokoving and funny play from the perspective of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern; two peripheral characters in Shakespeare's masterpiece, Hamlet.
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on 10 December 2001
A fantastic play, displaying Stopppard's talents to the most, Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead takes two minor characters from Shakespeare's Hamlet and shows their activities while the 'action' of Hamlet is going on elsewhere. Occasionally, the two meet, and other characters from Hamlet enter the stage, but the majority of time is spent watching Rosencrantz and Guildenstern pass time with Stoppard's trademark wit and word games - the infamous game of questions, in particular, can reduce me to tears of laughter when played right.
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on 2 April 2012
This is certainly one of the most original and powerful adaptations of Shakepseare ever written. It takes the Bard's orginal "Hamlet" towards the style of Beckett's "Waiting for Godot", so if offers a sideways view of the orignal play, which is interspersed in bits between the duo's dialogues, giving a sort of voyeur's view of the basic Hamlet story. It's likely, though, that Shakespeare himself would have applauded this production.
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