For one night only around the world, people who don’t live in England or have the money to travel to London were able to get a chance to see the New Theatre’s production of Hamlet, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Hamlet. My roommate told me about this because her theater professor told her that he was going and that was why he had cancelled rehearsal. We snatched up the opportunity to go so here is my National Theatre Live Hamlet review!
Everybody knows the story of Hamlet. If you don’t take a moment to educate yourself here, then come back to this review.
Let me get this out of the way: YES, if it wasn’t for the fact that Benedict Cumberbatch was playing Hamlet, I probably wouldn’t have gone. BUT, I am able to admit that he is the reason that I went and that upon seeing the production, there is so much more to love about it than just his face and his acting.
I’ll start by talking about the “To Be or Not to Be” scene. First things first: the man that was sitting next to my roommate SLEPT through almost the entirety of the first act and ruined this speech for me. I was dying to hear how Benedict would act out this scene especially, because it’s such an iconic scene in the play. But nope, dude next to my roommate was sleeping and snoring throughout the entirety of it and I couldn’t even focus on it because I was so annoyed.
I mean seriously, why would you pay $22 for a ticket to the show JUST TO SLEEP THROUGH THE FIRST ACT and to not come back at all for the second act?!?
Okay, now that my rant about that is done, my second favorite part of act one was the “Get thee to a nunnery scene”. He started it out all casual and then kind of just exploded on her and I thought it was amazing. Benedict played the part out well of having to act crazy.
Now to design. The design of the whole production was half modern but also not. Benedict and a lot of the cast members wore very casual modern clothing, while other members like his mother and Claudius worse very formal clothing for the majority of the play. I thought that was a part of it that made the whole thing interesting and unique about this production of Hamlet from other productions.
The music was another favorite part of mine. I like how the music that they used to transition between scenes and the two acts was intense, loud and fast paced. It was almost like as if it was preparing you for the upcoming drama to follow everything.
Overall, it was so worth the $22 and staying out until 10:30 to see. If it comes out on DVD I recommend you buy it (or if you can find it online, do that, but buying it is the better way to go, naturally). It was such a different way for me to see Benedict act and I wish that one day I can see him stage act in person!