Back in 1991, Bell Shakespeare opened their very first season with Hamlet, starring John Polson and directed by John Bell himself; it deliberately highlighted the Australian vernacular, almost over-emphasising the flat vowel sounds and local cadences over the fruitier delivery we inherited from the British. It had a gritty contemporary setting, and garishly over-the-top costumes. It also wasn’t very good. Polson’s anti-heroic bad boy might not have been quite as awful as Brendan Cowell’s turn in 2008, but the attempt to create a specifically Australian playing style ground against the text’s loftier intimations. It seems we, and the company, have come a long way.