So recently I had the pleasure of seeing Hamlet at the Barbican Theatre down in London, produced by Sonia Friedman and Directed by Lydnesy Turner, with the headline actor, Benedict Cumberbatch, playing Hamlet.
I personally love Shakespeare, as one of the best theatrical playwrights of all time – Hamlet is definitely one of my favourite plays of his, the iconic (for a reason) ‘To be or not to be’ soliloquy one of my favourite monologues of all time, Cliché I know.
One of the things Lydnesy Turner did with the piece, was to convey Hamlet’s madness, as if Hamlet was a small child. They used toy soldiers and wooden guns, for Hamlet to play with and dress up as – Creating the effect of him being a 5yr old boy. Like Hamlet played with the toy soldiers, he – indirectly – played with the revolution of Denmark.
Benedict Cumberbatch was magnificent. His acting having this level of intensity throughout the three hour performance was outstanding. He managed to create, along with the lighting and staging – this intimate relationship with the audience, in a huge theatre.
Speaking of staging- The set was absolutely spectacular. Lavish, magnificent and regal, truly a set worthy of a royal family. In the second half of the performance – the set was destroyed, covered in rubble and dirt – showing the microcosm of Denmark – The lavish palace in ruins. Denmark in ruins after the revolution.
I personally adored the costume – As it wasn’t set in any particular era – It meant the designer could be quite flexible with it. The Queen Mother and King in traditional garments – showing the older generation and the older way of thinking- The characters like Hamlet and Horatio in more modern clothes – showing the newer generation and ways of thinking. Also Hamlet was dressed in darker colours throughout the play – bar the toy soldier outfit – to show his grief and how that warped him. Until the last scene where he dies with a white jacket on – showing his innocence, surrounded by the royal court dressed in black.
On a personal note – This was very special for me – To see my favourite actor perform my favourite monologue was fantastic and everything was just so intimate- It was like you were the only one in the theatre with the actors. Also I managed to get his autograph and a chance to tell him how brilliant his acting was – and high fived Matthew Steer – Rosencrantz