Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Tennant's Hamlet opens to positive reviews

The Royal Shakespeare Company's new production of Hamlet starring David Tennant in the title role has officially opened with positive reviews from many British newspapers.

Benedict Nightingale, critic for The Times, says the production "gives Tennant the chance to show the world that he has the range to tackle the most demanding classical role of all - and, praise be, he seizes it. I've seen bolder Hamlets and more moving Hamlets, but few who kept me so riveted throughout." He also has high praise for Patrick Stewart in the dual role of Claudius and the ghost of Hamlet's father. Also in The Times, directorGregory Doran discusses the cuts he made to the play's text.

In The Daily Telegraph, Charles Spencer says that Tennant "isn't in the pantheon of the great Hamlets yet" but adds that he "discovers almost every ounce of sarky humour" and "is at his best though when he dares with his emotions and lets rip." The Telegraph has a photo gallery with images from the production. Also in the Telegraph, former National Theatre director Richard Eyre discusses the challenges of the play and the title role.

Paul Taylor, reviewer for The Independent, notes that "it's pure snobbery to suppose that Doctor Who fans and people who can appreciate Hamlet are mutually exclusive groups." He writes, "Tennant is adept at most aspects of the role but he excels when the prince becomes a prankish provocateur."

Writing for The Guardian, Michael Billington calls the RSC's production "one of the most richly textured, best-acted versions of the play we have seen in years" and says that Tennant "has no difficulty in making the transition from the BBC's Time Lord to a man who could be bounded in a nutshell and count himself a king of infinite space." The Guardian also has an interview with Doran and a gallery of photographs from the production.

BBC News calls Tennant's performance "undoubtedly mesmerising. What he lacks in emotional intensity, he makes up for with wit, humour and stirring energy." It also has a video interview with Doran, who discusses casting Tennant and how the company handles the unusual attention this production has drawn.

The prominent coverage of this production has included leading articles (editorials) in The Times and The Daily Telegraph (scroll past the bit about French holidays).

The international press has also noticed the Hamlet madness: the Associated Press discusses the two science fiction stars leading the RSC's production.

Thanks to the members of the Doctor Who Forum's "Media Watch" thread.