Hamlet - National Theatre 2000

Sunday, 10 September, 2000
Review by: 
Darren Dalglish

Written William Shakespeare
Director: John Caird 
Producer: Royal National Theatre 
Starring: Simon Russell Beale as 'Hamlet' , Cathryn Bradshaw as 'Ophelia', Sara Kestelman as 'Gertrude, Peter McEnery as 'Claudius' and Denis Quilley as 'Polonius'.

Most people thought that Simon Russell Beale is now too old at 42 and certainly too tubby to play Hamlet, however he has received great reviews for his performance from the popular press.... TIME OUT says, "It's been a long wait but is was worth it....Simon Russell Beale's portly appearance turns out to make an already very human Hamlet even more so." THE EVENING STANDARD was also impressed saying, "Hamlet will never be quite the same again. Simon Russell Beale caused one of the great Shakespearian sensations of our time last night, when he took on the Prince and won. " THE INDEPENDENT says, "Beale finally embraced his destiny on the Lyttelton stage...and it's a relief to report that his performance is well worth the wait. But goes on to say, "A wonderful Hamlet is constrained by a sentimentalised conception of the play." THE DAILY TELEGRAPH says, "There is an intelligence, humanity, humour and depth of feeling in this performance that I have never seen bettered." However, not all the critics thought Beale was great , THE DAILY EXPRESS says, "Russell Beale is a brilliant ironist, ferociously clever and funny. But for some reason he never lets rip; the pathos is there but not the poetry. In fact there's not really a single thrill in this long-gown production which despite radical cuts frequently looks like the work of the local drama society." THE STAGE headlined, "Deeply human, lacking pathos."

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