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HAMLET

Ended 6 Nov 2009 after 55 days

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In this barnstorming production, Jude Law approaches the role of Hamlet with the focus and adrenaline level of an Olympic track competitor

Ben Brantley, New York Times

Closed 6 Nov 2009

HERE'S WHAT WE SAY ABOUT JUDE LAW'S HAMLET
(review for June - August 2009 London production)

At 3 hours 15 minutes it was always going to be an ambitious task to present this pinnacle of Shakespearian tradegy to a West End audience of mixed ages and nationalities and keep them engaged throughout.  But, Jude Law's portrayal of Hamlet is mesmerising in the ease with which the verse, written nearly 400 years ago, seems as alive and as telling today.

The production holds together so perfectly that you can't question what era the play is set in, you unquestioningly accept the timelessness of it.  The set design, sound and sublime lighting add the right amount of atmosphere at just the right moments, but never take away from the central star of the show - the play itself - and the impact of words spoken so many times through so many changing eras.

Michael Grandage's production moves swiftly through the unfolding drama and apart from a slightly heavy opening scene the pace is as swift as the actors performances are delicate and un-selfconscious.  Jude Law is oustanding in his control of the play.  At the epi-centre of the tragedy he keeps the audience as his confidant and partner in his search for truth in the House of Denmark.  Hardly a cough or shuffle was heard in the auditorium and certainly no sweet wrappers being secretly opened, such was the attention of audience held.  The 'big' soliliquies were delivered delicately as a flowing part of the narrative of the play and had the elegance that matched Law's poised and balanced movement.

Next to me were a couple of American graduates on one side, a couple with their own young prince in front, and a couple in from Warsaw just to see this show on the other.  Everyone was ready for something special, and they were not dissappointed. 

Parents in the audience could all relate to Ron Cook's excellent Polonius, who, in his 'neither a borrower nor a lender be' speech to his son Laertes on his departure for Paris, could easily have added 'and don't forget to keep your iphone charged' such was the contemporary feel of the production.

The night I saw this production London was enjoying temperatures into the 90's.  I say 'enjoying' but in a London Victorian theatre (even one as nicely refurbished as the Wyndhams) that really means enduring.  Despite the heat and the bum-numbing length of the play (actually fairly short by previous Hamlet production standards) it was still an incredible production and worthy of the efforts both on and off the stage. 

When snow began falling on stage you could feel the whole audience secretly sigh ' aahh, air conditioning at last!'  If only...

Hamlet Shop

WHAT WE SAY

HERE'S WHAT WE SAY ABOUT JUDE LAW'S HAMLET
(review for June - August 2009 London production)

At 3 hours 15 minutes it was always going to be an ambitious... more »

What You Say

8 reviews, average rating: (4.0 Stars)

James Hardie: “London Performance”

I saw this in London with the the same cast except for Gertrude and thought... more

Allie: “Hey Jude”

Jude Law is a flawless Hamlet. Great production in NY. I do recommend it. ... more

Charlotte McCauley: “Fantastic Play Great Cast”

I have never been to a play before from Shakespeare, it was totally enjoyab... more

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