Play by William Shakespeare. A young man on the edge. About to be revenged. About to be damned... The King of Denmark is dead and has been succeeded by his brother Claudius who has also married Gertrude, the widowed Queen. Hamlet, Gertrude's son, is already distressed by his father's death and the hasty remarriage and when his father's ghost appears to tell him that he had been murdered by Claudius, Hamlet vows revenge. Polonius, the Lord Chamberlain, whose daughter Ophelia is all but betrothed to Hamlet, believes that his madness is caused by repressed love and sets a trap for them. Spied on by Polonius and Claudius, Hamlet encounters Ophelia and violently rejects her.
Royal Shakespeare Company's Hamlet with Toby Stephens 2004
Previewed 18 November 2004, Opened 23 November 2004, Closed 11 December 2004 at the Noel Coward Theatre)
The Royal Shakespeare Company present Hamlet in London with Toby Stephens as 'Hamlet', Sian Thomas as 'Gertrude', Clive Wood as 'Claudius', Richard Cordery as 'Polonius' and Greg Hicks as 'Ghost/ Player King' along with Anita Booth, Edward Clarke, Ian Drysdale, Jonathan Forbes, Meg Fraser, Trystan Gravelle, John Killoran, John Mackay, Neil Madden, Forbes Masson, Sion Tudor Owen, Jessica Tomchak and Gideon Turner. It is directed by Michael Boyd with designs by Tom Piper, lighting by Vince Herbert, music by John Woolf, sound by Andrea J. Cox and fights by Terry King. This production comes into London's West End following a season at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in July 2004.
"Toby Stephens makes a dashing Prince. He has deepened his reading of the part somewhat, but he is still stronger on action than on angst. You remember his scorn rather than his introspection, his quick grasp of events rather than his philosophising... There is some first-rate support. Richard Cordery has a fresh and interesting take on Polonius - he becomes a chortling old clubman when he drops his guard - and Clive Wood and Sian Thomas are outstanding as Claudius and Gertrude... I'm still not reconciled to a near-naked Ghost. Greg Hicks cuts a striking figure, but if Shakespeare went to the trouble of putting in some vivid stuff about the Ghost's armour, why should Boyd think he knows better?" The Sunday Telegraph
"Those who shy away from Shakespeare on the grounds that his plays are boring should beg, borrow or steal a ticket for this Hamlet... Rarely has this most famous of Will's works been performed with such flair and pulse-quickening energy. Toby Stephens is a stroppy, cocky Hamlet with a massive chip on his shoulder. He's challenged for the acting honours by a fantastic cast, especially chilling ghost Greg Hicks and Clive Wood as Claudius. The final fight scene is as exciting as any I've seen." The Sun
English Touring Theatre's Hamlet with Ed Stoppard 2006
Previewed 13 February 2006, Opened 20 February 2006, Closed 22 April 2006 at the Ambassadors Theatre in London
A murdered King... A usurped Prince... A promise of revenge. Returning to court to find his father murdered and his mother married to the murderer, Hamlet faces a terrible dilemma. An undisputed masterpiece of world theatre, Hamlet, Shakespeare's great tragedy of passion, corruption and revenge, has captivated audiences for over 400 years. It remains as relevant and urgent as ever.
Following a two month tour at the end of last year, English Touring Theatre's production - edited and directed by Stephen Unwin - comes to London's Ambassadors Theatre for a two month season. Ed Stoppard reprises his title role along with Anita Dobson as 'Queen Gertrude and Alice Patten as 'Ophelia'. Stephen Unwin, who is committed to producing a clear and accessible performance of the text, has set this production in period dress. A performance of the Hamlet text that appears in the First Folio would run for four hours. Stephen Unwin has cut it to three with passages that would be incomprehensible to modern audiences being removed.
"Ed Stoppard doesn't merely stand on his own neatly shod feet. He's the intelligent, sensitive, incisive centre of a production that's as clear as it is spare... David Robb is excellent as the usurper: a smooth, curt, authoritative operator maddened to see his court unravel because of the bolshie antics of a nephew he distrusts and despises from the start. And that's just one example of the deft way in which Unwin prepares his audience for events to come. Others include establishing the strong feelings of Anita Dobson's Gertrude for her wayward son and the warmth within the family of Michael Cronin's comically ponderous but far from contemptible Polonius." The Times
"The English Touring Theatre production of Hamlet, in Jacobethan costumes, is like a very faint pencil sketch for what might be a classic - and classical - account of this great play. Almost everything is well judged, clear, reasonable, attractive. In the title role, Ed Stoppard, looking as if he has just sat for Hilliard, speaks the words with phrasing, pellucid diction and, above all, effortless speed. Words, words, words pour intelligently from him, with the subtlest changes of vocal tone or pace as the subjects of this thought changes, so that we know from the first we are in the company of the protagonist who, more than any other character in world drama, makes thinking itself the stuff of theatre. Yet the whole thing is juiceless and fatally contained... We can see this Hamlet is witty, but he never makes us laugh... This Hamlet does not engage." The Financial Times
"The problem with Hamlet is that through years of schools texts and school productions, and the more classical endeavours of the RSC and the National we know the play too well. Hence the desire of certain directors to play it under water or on ice, anything to make a change in the name of novelty. It comes, therefore, as something of a surprise to find that Stephen Unwin's new production for his English Touring Theatre company is so very basic, almost without a subtext of any kind... As you'd expect of a production built for the road, the set is non-existent, costumes are basic Elizabethan and the casting is less than stellar. Relative newcomer Ed Stoppard is an interesting, craggy Hamlet... But Stoppard, like the production, lacks much in the way of hidden depth. The whole feeling here is of a BBC Shakespeare for Schools, hugely competent but somehow unenthralling, even when a complex plot is played at this pace. Anita Dobson's Gertrude, though it gets her far from EastEnders, is still not exactly Shakespearian, while the rest of the principal playing is also lightweight. There's nothing really wrong with this Hamlet except that it relentlessly fails to catch fire, to grab us into the heart of the story. It's cool, clear and concise but ultimately uninvolving, laid out for our inspection rather than giving us another reason to want to discover an always enthralling text." The Daily Express
The Bridge Project's Hamlet with Stephen Dillane 2008
PLEASE NOTE: This production was cancelled before the first performance and was replaced with Pygmalion. After this false start, The Bridge Project finally began in 2009 with The Cherry Orchard and The Winter's Tale playing together in repertory from June to August 2009.
The Bridge Project present William Shakespeare's play Hamlet in London with an Anglo/American cast lead by Stephen Dillane playing the title role of 'Hamlet' and directed by Sam Mendes. This production plays in repertory with The Tempest.
A murdered King... A usurped Prince... A promise of revenge... Returning to court to find his father murdered and his mother married to the murderer, Hamlet faces a terrible dilemma. An undisputed masterpiece of world theatre, Hamlet, Shakespeare's great tragedy of passion, corruption and revenge, has captivated audiences for over 400 years. It remains as relevant and urgent as ever.
For the opening season of The Bridge Project Sam Mendes directs Hamlet and The Tempest, two of Shakespeare's biggest and best-known works. Both plays share universally powerful themes: from the intense relationships between children and their parents, to the dramatic force of revenge - political and personal. These two new productions will showcase the best of transatlantic talent from a formidable cast and creative team at three internationally renowned theatres.
The Bridge Project is a three year series of co-productions between The Old Vic Theatre in London, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in New York and Sam Mendes' Neal Street Productions. Each year a single Anglo/American company will perform a double-bill of classic works at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and at The Old Vic Theatre, and make at least one other international visit. This three year series begins in 2008 with Hamlet and The Tempest and will continue in 2009 with The Winter's Tale and The Cherry Orchard, with a further pairing of plays to be confirmed for 2010.
Rehearsals for Hamlet and The Tempest commence in Brooklyn in October 2007. The plays will run at BAM during January to March 2008, at the Piccolo Teatro in Milan during April and then at The Old Vic Theatre during May and June 2008. The Old Vic Theatre is co-producing The Bridge Project with Joseph Melillo for BAM and Sam Mendes and Caro Newling for Neal Street Productions. The project is borne out of the group's shared desire to produce large-scale, classical theatre for international audiences.
Royal Shakespeare Company's Hamlet with David Tennant 2008
Previewed from 3 December 2008, Opened 9 December 2008, Closed 10 January 2009 at the Novello Theatre in London
The Royal Shakespeare Company present William Shakespeare's play Hamlet in London starring David Tennant and Patrick Stewart and directed by Gregory Doran.
Gregory Doran's production of Shakespeare's most famous play will be transferring directly from a sold out run in The Courtyard Theatre in Stratford. Shakespeare's great tragedy of a young man haunted by his father's ghost and driven to the edge of madness in his obsession to avenge his death.
The cast features David Tennant in the title role, with Patrick Stewart as Claudius, Penny Downie as Gertrude, and Oliver Ford Davies as Polonius. It is directed by Gregory Doran with designs by Robert Jones, lighting by Tim Mitchell, music by Paul Englishby, sound by Jeremy Dunn and fights by Terry King. This production comes into London's West End following a season at the Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in July 2008.
The director of Hamlet in London, Gregory Doran, said: "Hamlet is a play that waits for the right actor to come along. This Hamlet will be to some extent who David is. You have to have an actor who can be, as Ophelia describes him, 'the poet, the soldier, the scholar'. He has to be someone who is charismatic and can be brutal and course, and can be witty and moving and can physically take on the demands of the part. I believe that David's skills fill all these criteria."
Unfortunately David Tennant injured his back during early performances. The Royal Shakespeare Company have issued the following statement: "We are sorry to confirm that David Tennant will not be returning to Hamlet before Christmas due to a prolapsed disc. At this stage, we are unable to confirm his return date. Edward Bennett will continue to perform the role of Hamlet, with Tom Davey, Ricky Champ and Robert Curtis taking on understudy roles as before. Edward received standing ovations at the press performance and extremely good press reviews.
"David Tennant said today: "It is hugely disappointing for me to have to miss these performances. My back problem has progressed to the point where it is currently impossible for me to carry on without surgery. I want to get back onstage as quickly as possible and I am very grateful to Ed who has courageously got to grips with the role but in a much shorter time. It's a fantastic achievement."
"Artistic Director Michael Boyd said: "We all wish David a speedy recovery following his surgery and it is an indication of the RSC's investment in understudies that Ed Bennett can take over Shakespeare's largest role at such short notice. As an ensemble company, we feel it is important to go ahead with the run at the Novello Theatre and I am proud of the way Ed, the understudies, Patrick Stewart, Penny Downie and the rest of the company have risen to this challenge, getting a great reaction from audiences and critics alike. All performances of Hamlet will continue as scheduled and therefore refunds will not be issued. We are able to offer exchanges, subject to availability, for other RSC London performances during this season at the Novello Theatre. Patrons are also able to offer tickets for resale subject to the usual terms and conditions, however resales are not guaranteed."
"Now, after surgery, David Tennant has returned for the final few days of the run... with Tennant at the helm, the production is even better: surely one of the best Hamlets of the age. Tennant makes a superb Hamlet: mercurial, damaged, perhaps not mad but certainly depressed... Because Tennant's Hamlet is charismatic, wily and unpredictable, the reaction of the court rings true, particularly that of Patrick Stewart's Claudius, who reads Hamlet's intent. Stewart is excellent: cold, calculating, his first thought always pragmatic. So too is Penny Downie's Gertrude, torn apart by her son's distress, and Oliver Ford Davies as Polonius, bamboozled by Hamlet's quick wit. Edward Bennett, back as Laertes, makes a wonderful, impetuous foil to Hamlet's inaction." The Financial Times
Royal Shakespeare Company's Hamlet in London at the Novello Theatre previewed from 3 December 2008, opened on 9 December 2008 and closed on 10 January 2009.
Donmar Warehouse's Hamlet with Jude Law 2009
Previewed 29 May 2009, Opened 3 June 2009, Closed 22 August 2009 at the Wyndham's Theatre in London
The Donmar Warehouse present William Shakespeare's play Hamlet in London in a production directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Jude Law.
The cast for Hamlet in London features Jude Law in the title role along with Penelope Wilton as 'Gertrude', Kevin McNally as 'Claudius', Ron Cook as 'Polonius', Alex Waldman as 'Laertes', Gugu Mbatha-Raw as 'Ophelia' and Peter Eyre. This prodcution is directed by Kenneth Branagh with designs by Christopher Oram and music by Adam Cork. Jude Law makes his Donmar debut in the title role. Law's theatre work includes Dr Faustus and 'Tis Pity She's a Whore (Young Vic), Les Parents Terrible (Indiscretions) (National Theatre and Broadway). His film work includes Sleuth (directed by Kenneth Branagh) and The Talented Mr Ripley. Penelope Wilton's West End credits include playing the role of 'Vita Sackville-West' in Eileen Atkins' play Vita and Virginia (Ambassadors Theatre 1993).
"There is a difference in the way that a stage actor delivers his lines compared to a film actor, and that is all too apparent in Hamlet. It is Jude Law's misfortune to have to appear in the title role beside Peter Eyre, as the ghost of his father. The old trouper's wondrously mature and complex timbre effortlessly projects the most subtle of emotions, even up to the backpackers in the gods. Beside him, as the apparition's troubled son, Jude Law's voice seems suddenly very thin... It is the only flaw in what is for me an otherwise stunningly accomplished production... Law works very hard indeed to make it a success. His stagecraft is fluent and his interpretation of the part is thoughtful and engaging... Law - at 36 unusually old to play the part - is a wiry, clenched bundle of neurotic energy. This is a Hamlet who is as mad as hell and isn't going to take it any more." The Sunday Telegraph
"Directors usually have a good reason for staging Hamlet. Often it's because a particular actor is available... Kenneth Branagh wanted to direct Jude Law in the part, but film commitments got in the way and the gifted Michael Grandage stepped into the breach. Which may explain why his modern-dress production lacks either a big governing idea or any fresh insight. Of course it's perfectly competent - Grandage's direction is never less. The action moves swiftly and fluently within designer Christopher Oram's towering castle walls and the story emerges with impressive clarity, but fails to thrill or chill as it should... Law, a looker without much stage presence, leaves one neither shaken nor stirred. His is a sulky Hamlet, miserable rather than melancholy. He's convincingly disgusted by his mother's marriage to his dead father's brother, but he has none of the sweetness, the wit or mercurial quality that make Hamlet such a sympathetic, compelling character... Compensation lies elsewhere. Tiny Ron Cook is wonderfully funny as silly old Polonius, the know-all who knows nothing; Peter Eyre doubles superbly as the tormented ghost of Hamlet's father, striding the battlements barefoot, and an agile Player King in plimsolls. In the end it's not Law's Hamlet but the magnificent Penelope Wilton as his mother Gertrude who illuminates each advancing shadow in this darkening tragedy." The Mail on Sunday
Presented as the last production of the Donmar Warehouse Season at the Wyndham's Theatre which runs from September 2008 to August 2009 and comprises of three other plays: Anton Chekhov's Ivanov, William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and Yukio Mishima's Madame de Sade.
Hamlet in London at the Wyndham's Theatre previewed from 29 May 2009, opened on 3 June 2009 and closed on 22 August 2009.
Almeida Theatre's Hamlet with Andrew Scott 2017
Previewed 9 June 2017, Opened 15 June 2017, Closed 2 September 2017 at the Harold Pinter Theatre
Robert Icke's acclaimed new production of Shakespeare's Hamlet in London starring Andrew Scott in the title role - transferring to the West End following a sold-out run at the Almeida Theatre
The cast features Andrew Scott as 'Hamlet', Derbhle Crotty as 'Gertrude', Jessica Brown Findlay as 'Ophelia' and Angus Wright as 'Claudius' with Barry Aird as 'Francisco / Gravedigger', Madeline Appiah as 'Guildenstern', Marty Cruickshank as 'Player Queen', Calum Finlay as 'Rosencrantz', Joshua Higgott as 'Horatio', Daniel Rabin as 'Reynaldo', David Rintoul as 'Ghost / Player King', Maanuv Thiara as 'Marcellus', Luke Thompson as 'Laertes', Peter Wight as 'Polonius' and Matthew Wynn as 'Bernardo / Player 3 / Priest'. Juliet Stevenson played the role of 'Gertrude' up to Saturday 1 July 2017. Directed by Robert Icke with designs by Hildegard Bechtler, video by Tal Yarden, lighting by Natasha Chivers and sound by Tom Gibbons.
Andrew Scott's London theatre credits include Anthony Page's revival of Noel Coward's Design for Living at the Old Vic Theatre in 2010. Juliet Stevenson's West End credits include Matthew Lloyd's revival of Tom Kempinski's Duet For One at the Vaudeville Theatre in 2009 and Trevor Nunn's West End Premiere of Imogen Stubbs' debut play We Happy Few at the Gielgud Theatre in 2004. Robert Icke's West End theatre credits include George Orwell's 1984 at the Playhouse Theatre for three seasons between 2014 and 2016.
When this production opened here at the Harold Pinter Theatre in June 2017, Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard thought that "it's a choppy production from hotshot director Robert Icke and one which, for all its modish modernity, fails to shed much new light on this endlessly fascinating tragedy of grief and indecision... Directorial vision is one thing, but directorial trickery quite another... But let it be. Andrew Scott is the main draw and he delivers handsomely." Dominic Maxwell in the Times said that "Robert Icke's production is an amazing achievement... It feels as if Icke and company have interrogated every utterance here for every last jot of what it really means, then scuffed it up again to ensure it all feels like life not literature... Nobody can nail all of this play's rich contradictions in one go, but Icke and company come thrillingly close here." Ben Lawrence in the Daily Telegraph highlighted that "you hardly need to blow the cobwebs away from Hamlet, so timeless is its psychological acuity. But in this production, previously seen at the Almeida Theatre, Robert Icke has brought theatrical Ronseal to the rotten state of Denmark. By and large, it works magnificently - aided by leading man, Andrew Scott." Ian Shuttleworth in the Financial Times commented that Andrew Scott's "Prince is almost always selfaware, but not self-understanding; on the contrary, his keynote is a kind of bemused wonder at goings-on both within and beyond his skin. The great soliloquies seem new-minted, every word a separate question."
When this production opened in February 2017 at the Almeida Theatre in North London, Neil Norman in the Daily Express praised how "Robert Icke's production is ingenious without being too tricksy... the play is well cast and played with utter naturalism, holding 'a mirror up to nature'." Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times hailed "Andrew Scott's charismatic prince," explaining that "Robert Icke's productions bring lucid freshness to well-known texts and in Andrew Scott he has a Hamlet who draws us with him along this painful edge between being and not being." Paul Taylor in the i newspaper proclaimed that "this is a Hamlet not to be missed." Quentin Letts for the Daily Mail thought that "Andrew Scott plays the prince but the laurels in Londonís latest Hamlet go to director Robert Icke and designer Hildegard Bechtler. Their modern setting keeps one alert throughout the four hours and there are clever new takes on several characters... director Ickeís staging is fascinating." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard said that "Andrew Scott's Hamlet is engaging and accessible, but also strange and dangerous. It's a performance that combines fragility, charm, biting humour and desperation... There are scenes when the leisurely pace means the production loses some of its grip. But mostly it's rich and beautiful ó with Andrew Scott delivering a career-defining performance that's charismatic and surprising." Ann Treneman in the Times highlighted that "the director Robert Icke, young and always eager to update, has created a quirky and rather cumbersome production that is set to a Bob Dylan soundtrack" adding that Andrew Scott "is a mercurial Hamlet, sometimes quiet and brooding, occasionally explosive, often intense... at times, he is mesmerising but there are times when he seems to lose his impetus and we just don't care about him. Indeed, the entire production, at almost four hours long, is uneven." Michael Billington in the Guardian commented how "Robert Ickeís version at the Almeida Theatre is cool, clever, chic and has some good ideas, but also some that strike me as eccentrically wrong-headed." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph described how "this Hamlet's forte is a quivering, quavering emotionality... What Andrew Scott lacks, though, except in rare moments of flare-up rage and petulance, is full-throttle passion. He's lyrical but low-key... This wouldn't matter hugely, except that Robert Icke's modern-dress production is disappointingly subdued. Aside from a seductive sense of ongoing nuptial celebrations, spilling from a chic interior out through a double-set of wall-length windows, this is more Elsi-snore than Elsinore.".
This production was original seen at North London's Almeida Theatre - previewed from 17 February 2017, opened on 28 February 2017 and closed on 15 April 2017 - when the original cast featured Andrew Scott as 'Hamlet', Juliet Stevenson as 'Gertrude', Jessica Brown Findlay as 'Ophelia' and Angus Wright as 'Claudius' with Barry Aird as 'Francisco / Gravedigger', Elliot Barnes-Worrell as 'Horatio', Marty Cruickshank as 'Player Queen', Calum Finlay as 'Rosencrantz', Joshua Higgott as 'Marcellus', Amaka Okafor as 'Guildenstern', Daniel Rabin as 'Reynaldo', David Rintoul as 'Ghost / Player King', Luke Thompson as 'Laertes', Peter Wight as 'Polonius' and Matthew Wynn as 'Bernardo / Player 3 / Priest'.
"Andrew Scott delivers a mesmerising performance in a dazzling Hamlet that co-stars Jessica Brown Findlay as an endearing Ophelia. In Robert Icke's modern production, the court of Elsinore is a glamorous place - but walls have ears. While love-struck Queen Gertrude, a sensuous Juliet Stevenson, and her new King Claudius glide into cocktail parties, the royal family's dilemmas are played out on big screen news channels and, when the ghost of the old King first appears, it is not on the battlements but on CCTV. With a well-chosen Bob Dylan soundtrack accompanying the action, three-and-a-half hours fly by, till the tragic conclusion... and an innovative twist." The Sunday Mirror
"There is no character in all of Shakespeare whose mind is so endlessly and inexhaustibly fascinating as Hamlet's, and Andrew Scott triumphantly captures this. There are plenty of other things to admire in Robert Icke's wonderfully rich and inventive modern-dress production. It opens with the greatest Bob Dylan song of all, One More Cup of Coffee, and instantly hits you with two more great ideas: the dignified televised funeral for the old king, Hamlet's father, shown on a big screen with Danish subtitles; and the ghost of said king appearing, not in person before the watchmen, but on the same screen, now resembling a CCTV monitor in fuzzy black-and-white. is gives the apparition a real Blair Witch spookiness... This may not be an all-time classic Hamlet, nor the most harrowing, but it's a high-quality and endlessly suggestive production, brim full of Icke's virtuoso flair and insight." The Sunday Times
"Andrew Scott's sweet, sensitive, soul-searching prince gets to the guts of Hamlet's paralysing, bewildering, furious grief. He unpacks familiar phrases afresh, making them pulsate with his heartfelt pain, his hands eloquently unpicking the emotion, never tearing it to tatters... It's extraordinary how well the opening of Hamlet lends itself to a modern take, with a wall of CCTV cameras covering every exit as well as the palace's underground passages, where the dead king's ghost is spotted by burly security guards... But the second interval makes the production unnecessarily long and drains the play of some of its tension. A shattering Hamlet in an only fitfully piercing production." The Mail on Sunday
"Andrew Scott's Hamlet is so luminously exposed in Robert Icke's downbeat, modern version that you can't just see his thoughts, you can almost touch them. Dressed in hipster black, Scott is tremendous - tremulous, grief saturated, almost undone by the death of his father and, as the production progresses, enraptured more and more by the idea of death. At times his performance feels like one very long suicide note but Scott, so good at wily sarcasm, mines plenty of sour humour too. In a mark of this tonally unpredictable production, he is also given to thrilling ruptures in mood. Icke cleverly plays around with viewpoints. Surveillance and scrutiny are common themes. The ghost of Hamlet's father is first observed via CCTV. During the players' scene, live footage of the watching faces of Claudius (Angus Wright] and Juliet Stevenson's excellent Gertrude is projected on to the back wall. Sliding glass doors - a favourite device of Icke - illuminate private moments: Hamlet rejecting Jessica Brown Findlay's Ophelia in the bath; Gertrude and Claudius smooching at their wedding. The audience often feels it is privy to more than it ought. It's a slow burn, with a few irksome distractions but also many startling ones... Throughout it all Scott's Hamlet is almost unbearably moving. Many of his soliloquies are directed straight at the audience and I felt I was hearing them anew. It's gorgeous." The Londn Metro
Hamlet in London at the Harold Pinter Theatre previewed from 9 June 2017, opened on 15 June 2017 and closed on 2 September 2017