Having never seen Hamlet performed on stage before I was unsure whether seeing ACS Random’s version, which turns it into a Victorian ghost story, was a good idea.

Of course I’m familiar with the story and have even tried to live up to some of its famous lines “To thine own self be true” (although I admit I first heard this in Clueless). But I didn’t know if I would be distracted by the setting and miss Shakespeare’s point.

The start did not allay my concerns as it opened with a séance which in principle seems perfect for a ghost story . But the actress ‘channelling’ the spirits spoke so quickly I sadly didn’t understand a word they said.

With this over and with the arrival of the excellent Jack Baldwin on stage as the young prince Hamlet the performance improved considerably. Scarlett Clifford was lovely as Ophelia who goes from sweet maiden to tragic waif driven mad by grief and Paul Easom lent perfect gravitas to Polonius.

The setting worked well with semi-sheer screens with likenesses of the ghostly former king painted on them being used to make him appear and disappear to the rest of the cast.

And the transforming of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern into lusty women was beautifully done and made the cast a more equal balance of the sexes which was pleasant to see.

But from the off it all just felt too cramped in the Park 90 theatre. In some cases confining a drama this powerful to a small stage can give it more impact but in this case it just felt constrained- as if it had been taken off a larger stage and squashed into the space- never having room to grow into it’s full potential- never fully to be.

Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, until December 14. Details: parktheatre.co.uk