Lawyers get in on the acting

Given that one of Shakespeare's more quoted lines is: “The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers,” it seems generous of the Bar Theatrical Society to put on Hamlet.

Yet this timeless saga of madness, murder and the need for alternative dispute resolution is the latest in a proud tradition of Shakespearean productions dating back to the society's formation in the 1950s.

As you would expect of a Society that has Dame Diana Rigg among its patrons, it is a professional amateur outfit.

For Hamlet, it teamed up with players from Distracted Globe Productions, whose actors snatched the meatiest roles, although non-practising barrister Simon Tracey made a suitably mad Hamlet.

Barrister Julian Date as Laertes made the most of his part, fearlessly throwing himself into the final scene's sword fight with all the bravado you would expect from a libel reader for The Sun and The Observer. Another barrister, Crispian Cartwright of 5 Pump Court, had obviously studied some of the bench's older members as he played the dead man's role of the ghost eerily well.

At just over three-and-half hours, the production seldom flagged and the 500-year-old Lincoln's Inn Old Hall provided a stunning backdrop. Yet as the actors continually entered from the hall's outside entrances, the audience was left in wintry discontent.

Shivering aside, the production consolidated the Society's deserved reputation. But it is hoped the next production will see more lawyers on stage, despite Shakespeare's views.