Friday, October 16, 2015

'Hamlet' by William Shakespeare

16 October 2015

On Thursday we were at Cineworld in Milton Keynes to join audiences in hundreds of cinemas across the world watching the live screening of Sonia Friedman Productions' 'Hamlet' starring Benedict Cumberbatch, live from the Barbican Theatre in London. Benedict Cumberbatch is a great stage actor (we last saw him in Danny Boyle's 'Frankenstein' at the National Theatre, reviewed here in March 2011) and he gave a great performance. But, as many of the reviews of this fastest-ever-selling London theatre show have said, Lyndsey Turner's production is not the greatest 'Hamlet'. Es Devlin's giant set is amazing and there are some wonderful moments but the overall effect felt cluttered and slightly disconnected. Nevertheless 'Hamlet' is a bottomless play and every production seems to discover elements you hadn't noticed before. This version gave a clarity to the background political plot (with Fortinbras taking his Norwegian army through Denmark ostensibly to invade Poland) that I hadn't seen before. And it was great to see Benedict Cumberbatch using the opportunity to speak to a live worldwide audience, at the curtain call, to ask for donations to Save the Children to support refugees from the current crisis in Syria. You can give at:

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