This production of Hamlet was part of the National Theatre Live series – not as good as being there, but better than not seeing it at all.

This is the best live production of Hamlet that I have ever seen. Referred to in the reviews as Hamlet in a hoody, the modern dress production is more than just modern clothing. It is a completely modern feeliing production. Not once did I have the feeling I was watching a 400 year old play. Nicholas Hytner has done a brilliant job of bringing the production alive without losing anything in the text. He was so fortunate to have chosen Rory Kinnear as Hamlet – he gave an absolutely brilliant performance. Hamlet was a person, not a character or worse a caricature as he so often is. The rest of the cast were very strong especially Patrick Malahide as Claudius and David Calder as Polonius.
The staging was great, although it perhaps would have been better seen live, rather than through the camera. I particularly liked the way the sequence with the Players was handled – it actually added to the production rather than dragging it out as it so often can.
The more times I see this play, the more I see in it. This may be becuase it is so long it is hard to focus on everything all the time, but I do regularly notice new things in every production.


About cathyriggall

Theatre junkie, who thinks live theatre is the ultimate form of living on the edge. You never know what will happen when an actor steps on the stage.
This entry was posted in National Theatre, Nick Hytner, Rory Kinnear. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Hamlet

  1. Keith says:

    Good production, great Hamlet. Not so keen on the filming.The production flowed well, the company was very good and the modern elements did not jar; rather, they seemed quite naturally part of the action.Kinnear was the best Hamlet I have seen too. I really liked Brannagh's production – it was the first time the story made sense, rather than just a series of soliloquies with filler, and Brannagh was a believable hamlet, lots of pent-up anger struggling to get out; he made the hesitation seem understandable.Kinnear's Hamlet is softer, perhaps less princely, but ultimately more "real" and his use of Shakespeare's words made it feel like the language of today. As to the filming, the approach b the National has changed a lot since Phedre and, up until now, I felt it was evolving in a very productive fashion. However, this time I think it was too much a film, ultra close-ups, jumping camera position, but still had the limitations of a stage play, it was neither one thing or the other and suffered in comparison to either. Also, they changed their approach to the sound and this time, despite the volume being quite high in the cinema, it was muffled and boomy. We could also hear somebody calling the camera shots for part of the production, which was distracting.All in all, I am glad we saw it, but I wish we had seen it live in the theatre.

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