Hamlet at the Barbican – in Oslo!

By William Shakespeare
Directed by Lindsey Turner
Produced by Sonia Friedman Productions

Picture of Benedict Cumberbatch as HamletYesterday (Thursday October 15th) I had the great fortune of seeing Hamlet on the Barbican in London, from Oslo! The play with Benedict Cumberbatch was being broadcast live to hundreds of cinemas all over the world, and I was lucky enough to be seated in one of them. Watching from the atmospheric and old Gimle Cinema you almost felt like you were actually sitting in a theatre. Almost.

I love the idea of live theatre being broadcast world-wide and thus gaining a wider audience. Cinema can never fully capture the magical feel of theatre, but some plays certainly look good on the big screen, and Turner’s Hamlet is absolutely one of them. The staging almost makes you think it was designed to be filmed from the start. There are some absolutely beautiful scenes using different lightning techniques, slow motion and special effects. Since you’re watching the play through a camera lens you get a lot of close-ups of the action and the actors, which works well in this piece. At the same time it’s a shame that you don’t get to take in the whole stage when you want to, or decide what part you want to focus on.Anyway, that’s just nitpicking, and does of course not ruin the experience.

Benedict Cumberbatch does a great job portraying Hamlet, he is incredibly intense, vulnerable, funny and most of all real. He delivers some incredibly touching moments, I had to admit I shed a tear during both “To be, or not to be” and “What a piece of work is man“. The entire cast does an incredible job of course, but besides Cumberbatch I especially enjoyed Kobna Holdbrook-Smith as Laertes and and Karl Johnson as the Ghost of Hamlet’s father. When taking in a play, and especially something like Shakespeare with its beautiful language, the actor’s voice, rhytmn and intonation are so important to me, to make me connect with their character, and these three in particular especially delivered on that part.

If you have the opportunity to watch one of the reruns that are being sent many places worldwide, I highly recommend it. To find out where you can still watch the production that was filmed October 15th, click here to find a list of cinemas and dates.