Hamlet Globe to Globe is a compulsively readable, intensely personal chronicle of performances in places as various as Djibouti and Gdansk, Taipei and Bogotá. The book is in large part a tribute to the perils and pleasures of touring...they would fly in, hastily assemble their set, unpack their props and costumes, shake hands with officials, give interviews to the local press, and mount the stage for two and a half hours of ghostly haunting, brooding soliloquies, madcap humor, impulsive stabbing, feigned and real madness, graveside grappling, swordplay and the final orgy of murder.
...[a] irresistible new book ... He covers the triumphs and the low points, shares some gossip, airs grievances against those who criticized the project (the company’s unsuccessful effort to perform in North Korea generated controversy), and every now and then has an epiphany about the meaning of it all ... [Dromgoole] delves into the play’s history, grapples with its themes, and offers a passionate case for its enduring relevance ... The logistics of the world tour are themselves fascinating, from the difficulty of procuring visas to the caprices of air travel to the pressure of creating a portable production that could be mounted and taken down within a couple of hours.
For all its excitements, the journey must have been a slog, and the book has something of that feel, too. Dromgoole joined the travellers only intermittently, and his descriptions, while atmospheric, often have a scrambled, straight-off-the-plane quality, with every after-show drink or impromptu chat ransacked for significance ... Dromgoole is at his best on home turf, roaming around the vastnesses of Shakespeare’s longest script. There’s good nitty-gritty on the practicalities of staging, and some battle-hardened textual insights ... There is no doubting their courage, but why are his actors visiting all these countries? As with so many questions in Hamlet, this one doesn’t really find an answer.