Live Theatre: Hamlet

Emily Burns discusses Benedict Cumberbatch's performance of Hamlet

2nd November 2015

In my opinion there are two types of people in this world. There are those who will happily spend their days wearing heels and re-applying make up, whilst there are others who will opt for the more practical backpack and comfortable trainers look. As much as I deny it to friends, I fall into the second category of caring more about practicality than fashion.

  Yes, that is right, my ‘going out look’ consists of running trainers and leggings. The type of fashion, if one may call it so, that will send the Courier fashion writers running for the hills.

So, I was ecstatic when I learnt that I would no longer have to endure a six hour coach trip down to London and pay eighty pounds (the cheapest seats in any major theatre in London) for a terrible view where one has to pay extra for binoculars to see the stage.

"I was instantly blown away by the set of this particular production."

National Theatre Live brings the biggest hits from London’s West End to beautiful venues such as Tyneside Cinema, which is conveniently located right at the heart of Newcastle and only a fifteen-minute walk from my house.

It was at Tyneside Cinema where I went to see the encore recording of Hamlet, starring Benedict Cumberbatch. I was instantly blown away by the set of this particular production.

"Dirt and rubble cover the floor, the chandelier hangs at an awkward angle"

In the opening of the play the stage resembles a luxury, bourgeois dining room fit with high ceilings, a great staircase, a chandelier and a long dining table at the centre of the stage. In the second half of the play, the luxury setting is destroyed by a bomb planted by Laertes (played by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith) and his soldiers. Dirt and rubble cover the floor, the chandelier hangs at an awkward angle and the actors have to climb a hill of soil to exit the stage. The audience are able to sense the havoc and chaos, by the setting alone.

  Overall the production is clever in capturing the great themes that run throughout Hamlet ,a play that was wrote over four hundred years ago, and does exceptionally well in bringing Shakespeare’s greatest play to modern audiences.

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