Hamlet – Barbican Theatre

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.16_-Benedict-Cumberbatch-(Hamlet)-in-Hamlet-at-the-Barbican-Theatre

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


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