Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Last weekend I went to London with my lovely friend Emilie and some of her other friends to see Hamlet. I got to go for free because somebody else dropped out (excellent for me) and was really looking forward to doing something vaguely cultural for once. It was also made more exciting by the fact that Hamlet was being played by Jude Law. Jude Law, if you don't know, is a film star, bit of a play boy but generally agreed to be really rather nice looking. Here he is:
I thought I was going to the Donmar Warehouse but it was actually part of the Donmar's year long residency at the Wyndhams Theatre which is a very different venue! I don't really go to the theatre as much as I'd like so am not qualified to be a critic at all, but I do know Hamlet pretty well having studied it at A-level. I've never been to one of these 'star' plays where they have someone ultra famous in the lead role and pretty well nobody else you've ever heard of in the rest of the cast, so I was interested to see what effect it had on the play overall. They also did it in modern dress which some people have an issue with. I don't if they do something with it but more on that later. My unqualified opinion was that Jude was actually pretty good. He was a troubled and dramatic Hamlet rather than a cocky or a funny one, which is fine I think as that is one interpretation of the character. What I did find was that he out-acted everyone else in the cast. The only other person I thought was any good at all was the guy playing Polonius who did the flappy Dad/politician bit really well. Penelope Wilton was Gertrude and alright, Gertrude is a bit of a rubbish part overall I think, but she didn't bring much to the stage at all. Having said that I've never seen a good Gertrude so maybe it is just the part.
The scenary was very dramatic and looked like the ramparts of a castle which was quite mean and moody and felt right for the play but I had an issue with the costumes, or lack of them. They were in modern dress, which is fine, but all the clothes were black or grey which just gave no interest to the eye on stage and made it all feel a bit oppressive. At the beginning when they urge Hamlet to 'cast off his inky cloak' I was thinking that it would make no difference as everyone else was dressed like they were going to a funeral as well!
However, that aside I did really enjoy it. I'd forgotten how many famous quotes come from Hamlet and let's face it, when Hamlet looks like Jude it doesn't really matter what he's wearing :)
Here is what The Independent thought of it (they're a bit harsher than I was I think):
A lovely day was then finished off by wine and grub at Pizza Express and left me thinking I must make more effort to get tickets to things like this. I also managed to squeeze in a quick trip to the Liberty's haberdashery to get bits for customising our wedding invitations - it's like a treasure trove in there I could've spent hours digging around!

Love Kate xxxx

1 comment:

Helen said...

Interesting review and it sounds like an interesting play. I collect Hamlets, so it's always nice to hear about another one.