MB’s London Copy Director Philip Browning gives his review of Hamlet at the Barbican.
An experience without spark is often described as ‘Hamlet without the Prince’. Benedict Cumberbatch’s Barbican performance is all star-player, with not enough play. He’s towering, mesmeric and funny – everything you could ask of one of the greatest challenges in acting. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast is not so much out of their depth, as floundering in Mr. C’s shallows.
For instance, his mother Gertrude, who should be guilt-ridden yet passionate, acts more like a society hostess, distraught at finding her cocktail party cluttered with a gradual accumulation of dead bodies.
Thankfully the design is Benedict’s equal. The (massive) set disintegrates from opulence into desolation, as Hamlet’s world falls apart.
Certainly worth seeing, but what a shame it wasn’t more of a team game.