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Hamlet (2015)

National Theatre Live: Hamlet (original title)
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, finds out that his Uncle Claudius killed his father to obtain the throne, and plans his revenge.

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Cast

Credited cast:
... Hamlet - Prince of Denmark
... Claudius
... Ophelia
... Horatio
... Ghost of Hamlet's Father / Gravedigger
... Polonius
... Gertrude
... Laertes
... Rosencrantz
... Guildenstern
... Soldier
... Player Queen / Messenger
Dan Parr ... Barnardo
... Player King
... Marcellus
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Storyline

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, finds out that his Uncle Claudius killed his father to obtain the throne, and plans his revenge.

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15 October 2015 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hamlet  »

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16:9 HD
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Trivia

Actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Sian Brooke have also worked together in BBC series, Sherlock, season 04. See more »

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User Reviews

 
A good 'Hamlet', but not a great one
15 October 2015 | by See all my reviews

I just returned from the NTLive "Hamlet" production starring Benedict Cumberbatch. It was an enjoyable experience that I can recommend to any Shakespeare fan. But while it was good, it was not great. Speeches were rearranged, certain words were "updated", and the production was generally too shouty and melodramatic to convey the proper poetry and pensiveness of Shakespeare's text.

There were some good ideas and also some less good ideas, and as a whole the impression was not as professional and tight as are the productions that the Royal Shakespeare Company presides over. The actors made several small mistakes here and there, and it was not always clear whether a changed word was intentional or just misspeaking. Some words were intentionally changed; "yeoman service" had become "faithful service" and "as for my means, I shall husband them" had become "as for my men, I shall marshal them". There were maybe a dozen instances like this (oh yes, I remember one more: when Hamlet talks to his mother, and Shakespeare writes "I the matter will reword, which madness would gambol from", Cumberbatch says "I the matter will repeat, which madness would fly from" - decidedly less literary!), and it doesn't make sense to me to make such minor changes. After all, it's not like there are great numbers of audiences who will suddenly understand the play much better based on about a dozen changed words in a furiously paced three-hour production. To my mind, it's better to retain Shakespeare's words (the text cannot be improved upon, and it's a fool's errand to try), and make audiences wonder about them and perhaps want to look them up, rather than to try with such half-hearted efforts to "help" people understand it more immediately.

One of the best things about the production was the role of the Danish tin soldier that Hamlet took on to demonstrate his madness. He dressed up, played the drum and ensconced himself in a toy castle, which I thought was a great way to bring out his "antic disposition".

But overall, Cumberbatch's acting seemed rather too hot-headed and raving to put across any particularly memorable or sensitive portrayal of the title character. The climactic duel scene was also a bit messy and strange, landing this production on 7 stars out of 10 in my estimation.


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