Last night Sarah and I went to see Grandage’s Hamlet at The Donmar – well, The Wyndham Theatre anyway. I generally hate the West End, but there you go.
It was, of course, Jude Law as the Dane. I have a specific – if slightly tenuous – reason to see this: my mother was Jude Law’s drama teacher. It was, therefore, a real delight that Law was not only technically competent, but top-notch. An energetic, physical, full-body, sinewy performance which foregrounded Hamlet as a petulant teenager on the edge of violent disorder.
But I was particularly impressed by his speech. He managed that rare trick of rendering the twisted logic of the soliloquies fresh, original and psychologically realistic. There was real poetry there, too. He was, as they say, the star of the show – not as the Hollywood superstar, but as a plain ol’ stage actor.
I thought Neil Austen‘s lighting was also terrific and imaginative, whilst Penelope Wilton put in a strong performance as Gertrude. Kevin McNally‘s Claudius was a bit dull though – all of the politic bureaucrat with none of the sinister murderer.
How Wonderful. The soliloquies in HAMLET are easier to read than to actually perform them and bring them to life. I’m so glad Jude Law managed to do that brilliantly.