Review: Hamlet, Leeds Playhouse, until March 30. Box office: 0113 213 7700 or at

AMY Leach, the Leeds Playhouse associate director, first paired Tessa Parr and Dan Parr as the star-cross'd lovers in her hot and bothered inner-city Romeo And Juliet in March 2017.

Two years later, the pair of Parrs are part of the Playhouse Pop-Up theatre ensemble company, and if you were asked to predict their roles in Hamlet it would have been Dan as the student prince and Tessa as Ophelia, but having an ensemble allows for more adventurous possibilities.

In Leach's words, "It’s a magnificent play exploring a nation that has become rotten, and feels hugely resonant in our current turbulent political times. It’s a story exploring the identity and emotional journey of a young person with unspeakable burdens placed on their shoulders, and I’m really excited that in our production this will be a young woman."

Tessa is Princess Hamlet (not Hamlette); Dan is Laertes, so still poison will play a part in their deaths (as in Romeo And Juliet). This is a stark, modern-dressed Hamlet, played out against a wall of wilting flowers and candles and a dark, sinister backdrop in Hayley Grindle's design, and conducted at a revenge thriller's pace more associated with Romeo And Juliet, where there almost isn't time to think "To be or not to be?".

That is not the central question here, however. Instead, after Maxine Peake's androgynous Himlet/Herlet in 2014, what do Leach and Tessa Parr make of the anguished Dane? Here, Hamlet is a total conversion to female, as established in a newly added silent prologue.

For those who fear it might be nothing more than a Shamlet, Parr revels in the chance to take on a range of characteristics and behaviour not usually found in conventional female roles, and after a somewhat monotone start, she delivers on the promise of her Juliet with a compelling performance.