Old Forester wins rave reviews for Hamlet role

Paapa, who was a pupil at Forest from 1997 to 2008, is currently playing the lead role at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.

The production has been praised for its new take on the play, with Paapa’s performance receiving particular recognition.

The Times said Paapa gave an “utterly engaging performance,” adding that “Essiedu has the gift” to bring humour to the role. While its sister paper, the Sunday Times, said the play paves the way for Paapa to become a “household name.”

The Guardian described the Old Forester as an “intensely likeable Hamlet,” with the Evening Standard declaring he was a “brash and youthful Hamlet” who “combines sarcasm, charm and creepiness.”

Paapa won further praise from The Stage, which said he has a “quality that makes you sit up and pay attention” describing his performance as “flirtatious, charismatic and sarcastic.”

Hamlet is playing at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre until August and will be shown in cinemas from June.

Later this month, Paapa will join Dame Helen Mirren and Benedict Cumberbatch to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the poet’s death for Shakespeare Live! at the theatre.

The event on April 23 will be shown on BBC Two and will be attended by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.

During his time at Forest, Paapa played Othello and Macbeth in school productions and he was in the 1st XI football squad.