Tuesday, September 9, 2008

STRATFORD-UPON-AVON: Hamlet (RSC) - 9/9/08

Gregory Doran's appealing modern dress "Hamlet" starring David Tennant and Patrick Stewart is deeply satisfying. Although, overall, it does not top the production I saw at the Stratford Festival in Canada starring Ben Carlson, there are aspects to this production that are unbeatable. First off, Patrick Stewart is perhaps the finest Claudius I have ever seen; his interpretation shows us a king that, despite his flaws, is fully capable of ruling his land. Indeed, the quality of the entire cast is superb, with Doran deliberately slowing the pace so that the actors can fully explore the complexities of the play and their characters as the plot unfolds. Which brings us to David Tennant; his is a sensitive, deeply confused, and reactionary Hamlet. The interpretation works, but somehow I miss the fiery and brash take on the character.

Rating: ****1/2 (out of *****)

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