Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Hamlet, 2017

Can we take on yet another HAMLET? I missed Benedict Cumberbatch's over-hyped one last year, but will definitely want to see his SHERLOCK co-star Andrew Scott as the Dane in the current production, sold out at the Almeida Theatre, but on its way to London's West End in June, at the Harold Pinter Theatre. Scott is a fascinating actor, he was Moriarty to Benedict's Sherlock in that TV series. 
Modern versions of Shakespeare don't usually work for me (though I liked Ken Branagh's LA DOLCE VITA era ROMEO AND JULIET last summer - review at Theatre label), but this new one, directed by Robert Icke seems a fresh interpretation .... as per these comments

Celebrity Hamlets are a rite of passage for stars wishing to test their metal against The Bard's most introspective and challenging central character. 
This technologically sound production grounds the intrigue in a modern Danish court complete with rolling news and modern surveillance. Whilst it's not necessarily a new idea the live camera work picks up on subtle flashes of Scott's genius, from 'The Mousetrap' scene that's played within the auditorium itself and allows a close-up view of the murderous reactions to the filmed fencing that brings his downfall. Characters are wiretapped adding to the paranoia whilst the Ghost appears via CCTV, but the addition of guns create more problems than they solve.
Juliet Stephenson is a radiant Gertrude finding life in the poetry and carefully maintaining the post-wedding exuberance that Icke extends to hang over much of the first act played through a clinically Nordic set that allows split scenes to operate on multiple levels.

We will be booking it for June then, when it opens. It is four hours long with two intervals, so I think a matinee will be a better bet than sitting in the theatre from 7pm to 11pm, and then getting home. I did that with the David Tennant HAMLET some years ago, and it was quite a slog, and we emerged into a blinding snowstorm! Doing this long HAMLET twice a day must be quite a marathon on matinee days, just saying. 

My collection of HAMLETs include Peter McEnery, Michael York, Alan Bates, Jonathan Pryce, Stephen Dillane, and David Tennant's understudy., plus the films by Olivier, the Russian 1964 one, Tony Richardson's 1968 one with Nicol Williamson, Zeffirelli's with Mel Gibson, Derek Jacobi for the BBC, and the Ken Branagh all-star marathon of 1996. 

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