Hamlet OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Johan Persson
  • NY TIMES

  • Opening Night:
    August 25, 2015
    Closing:
    October 31, 2015

    Theater: Barbican Centre / Silk St, London EC2Y 8DS, United Kingdom

    Synopsis: 

    Benedict Cumberbatch takes on the title role in Shakespeare’s great tragedy. As a country arms itself for war, a family tears itself apart. Forced to avenge his father’s death but paralysed by the task ahead, Hamlet rages against the impossibility of his predicament, threatening both his sanity and the security of the state.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Hamlet

    Benedict Cumberbatch in ‘Hamlet,’ Cocooned in an Aura on a London Stage

    Ben Brantley

    August 25, 2015: He is, he complains sulkily, “too much in the sun.” That is correct on so many levels. When the title character of “Hamlet” offers this self-diagnosis early in the highly pictorial production that opened on Tuesday night at the Barbican here, the image matches the word. For the Prince of Denmark is at that moment standing at the exact center of a lavishly appointed banquet table. And while it is presumably nighttime, the sun’s rays seem to have followed him there, and haloed him. It’s not just that he’s the only one wearing black, or scowling, that sets this guy apart. He is cocooned in his own special (and literal) radiance, the celestial equivalent of a spotlight devised by the lighting designer Jane Cox. He looks, for all the world, like a saint in an old-master painting, embracing both martyrdom and apotheosis. Well, what better way to frame an actor whose appearance in Shakespeare’s best-known tragedy has turned the Barbican into an international shrine? That actor, of course, is Benedict Cumberbatch, star of stage, screen and “Sherlock,” and the object of a vast, worshipful cult whose raison d’être I have never quite fathomed. (I think you might have to be female to fully understand.)

    READ THE REVIEW

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