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Hamlet via NT Live, Post #68 - Laura Wise

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October 16th, 2015


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02:09 pm - Hamlet via NT Live, Post #68
So I went to see the National Theatre Live screening of Hamlet last night, and, short review: Cumberbatch is super; shame about some of the rest of the production.

THE GOOD:

Cumberbatch is a v.v.v.v. fine Hamlet indeed, for my tastes. His facility with the language and the verse and his ability to shift mercurially from tone to tone were first-rate, and he could be very funny. (I love a witty Hamlet, me.) His Hamlet was at once more emotional than sometimes seen (I think he was in tears half the play) and yet more distanced from others, and while I would have liked more princeliness, if you know what I mean, he was a grad-student kind of young which works well enough for the character. The first half (acts 1 through 3) were especially strong -- I didn't think his big act 5 moments landed, exactly, but that's more the production's fault. Also, the man was in non-stop motion for three+ hours; his athleticism was a joy to watch. And yeah, you can't ignore the power of The Voice.

Of the supporting roles, I was taken with Sian Brooke's Ophelia, damaged from the jump and ready to break, and while I didn't get why Gertrude and Claudius were together (ZERO CHEMISTRY), I liked Anastasia Hille's dignity and her attempts to connect with Ophelia as well as her son.

Lyndsey Turner's direction brought some great moments, and Es Devlin's set (an Elsinore of order and color before the internal, dark and debris-filled and already ruined after the interval) offered lots of cool spaces to act in.

THE BAD:

Man, Turner's direction was also kind of a mess, and I often didn't like her cuts and rearrangements to the texts. (Note: directors HAVE to cut the play, in my view, or you're stuck with Branagh's interminable all-Quartos-all-Folio endurance test. But be judicious.) I kept thinking of Gregory Doran's direction of the Tennant RSC Hamlet, which hit a lot of the same interpretive notes but did so with much more grace.

And speaking of Doran and Tennant's Hamlet, the filmed version has that patented deep bench of the RSC, with almost every part cast with really strong actors. In fact, Tennant and Peter de Jersey are probably my favorite Hamlet & Horatio ever, in the sense that Horatio is clearly a dear friend AND has his own shit going on. I... didn't think Turner's supporting actors were all that strong, or else they weren't given space to breathe, or something. Unimpressive.

The last scene. No. (And if you're going to do Fortinbras, DO HIM PROPERLY.) (That sounded dirtier than I meant it.)

That all being said, I'm glad I went. The people I was with (who were not bitter old theatre girls like me) LOVED the production, and Cumberbatch is everything he's advertised to be. If an Encore screening comes along, I recommend it.

(8 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:tx_cronopio
Date:October 16th, 2015 06:27 pm (UTC)
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Nice review, thanks!
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:October 17th, 2015 12:25 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for reading, Cronopio!
[User Picture]
From:mobile_alh
Date:October 16th, 2015 09:02 pm (UTC)
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As always, your thoughtful review is much appreciated...sounds like a fun evening!
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:October 17th, 2015 12:25 pm (UTC)
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It's got some great moments and a wonderful central performance, so, yes, I was overall pleased. :)

Cheers and hugs!
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From:gwynnega
Date:October 16th, 2015 10:56 pm (UTC)
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From everything I've read, this production is quite a mixed bag. Sounds like Cumberbatch did a great job, though!

On an unrelated note: Jon Lindstrom is returning to GH! I'm not thrilled with the new writing regime so far, but it looks like Kevin may be counseling Anna, which could be great.
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:October 17th, 2015 12:26 pm (UTC)
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Cumberbatch really is a Big Fucking Deal. :)

Oh, Jon Lindstrom! [heart-eyes]

Hugs hugs for your Saturday!
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From:paratti
Date:October 17th, 2015 12:44 pm (UTC)
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I'm glad the BC was good:)
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:October 17th, 2015 05:03 pm (UTC)
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Cumberbatch is really really really excellent. :)

Hugs and health, mate!

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