I finally checked out Lyndsey Turner’s production of”Hamlet” starring Benedict Cumberbatch. But I did not go to London’s Barbican Centre. I saw it via National Theatre Live at UCLA’s packed Meltnitz Theatre, on Saturday afternoon. The older woman next to me admitted to being a Cumberbitch and huge “Sherlock” fan. She loved “Hamlet” too, but I suspect that the “Imitation Game” star’s intense, physical performance (he admits to eating all day to nourish it), with several welcome flashes of wit—the soliloquys are quieter—plays better in a large live theater. On video it’s very BIG. Old pro Ciaran Hinds as Claudius was perfect.
Benedict Cumberbatch Uses ‘Hamlet’ Stage for Politics (VIDEO)
Benedict Cumberbatch Uses 'Hamlet' Stage for Politics (VIDEO)
You have not missed your chance to see the play. Fathom Events, National Theatre Live and BY Experience will reprise “Hamlet” for a special one night encore on November 10. Get tickets online here or at theater box offices.
Cumberbatch has been exhorting audiences after the curtain call to donate to Save the Children in support of Syrian refugees, reading Somali poet Warsan Shire’s poem “Home” (which he also reads in “Help is Coming,” Save the Children’s charity single): “No one puts children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.” This past Monday he reportedly added, “fuck the politicians!”
Here’s one of Cumberbatch’s calmer speeches at the end of “Hamlet” (from Monday October 12 2015) asking for donations.