Hamlet @ Barbican Centre: Review

By: Christina Kalogeropoulou | Published: Nov 04, 2015
at The Gaudie

5 Stars

Generating major hysteria from the moment word got out, Lyndsey Turner’s new approach to the classical tragedy became a clear example of how a Shakespearian play can be modernized with visual effects and impressive scenery, whilst maintaining its traditional roots, creating a harmonic symphony of the old mixed with the new when the curtains are finally closed.

The choice of casting Benedict Cumberbatch in the titular role was an ingenious one that served to supplement the plays general triumph. He, like the mythical Proteus, cast off his cinematic appearances for which he gained notoriety and transformed, as he does so well to craft an accomplished form on the stage of Shakespeare’s beloved protagonist. His interpretation was bold, impassioned and very much worthy of its place West-end, with all its lofty expectations. The perhaps unfortunate part though was that some smaller roles stood like ghosts amid Cumberbatch’s larger than life performance presence.

However, Sian Brooke delivered a breathtaking performance as Ophelia, whose final exit was maybe the most emotionally intense moment of the whole play. Leo Bill as Horatio seems like a fresh breath of supportive fellowship throughout the play and Ciaran Hinds delivers a Claudius, as it should be, wicked and remorseless.

Jon Hopkins’ score contributed equally to create a dark and bleak atmosphere.

Turner could have, however, paid more attention in casting to make integrated characters that will allure the audience into the story. Despite these directorial choices, though, the aftertaste of the audience after the encore is that this performance of Hamlet is one worth watching and even worth spending more than ten hours on cold ground queuing for tickets.