The RSC puts a modern spin on Shakespeare's Hamlet in this filmed-for-television version of their stage production. The Prince of Denmark seeks vengeance after his father is murdered and his mother marries the murderer.
This is a lengthy version of Hamlet. It retains the last words of Fortinbras at the finale which often gets excised.
It is an adaptation in modern dress set in modern day Denmark. It is an Almeida Theatre adaptation ad filmed almost like a stage play, although there are video news inserts of breaking news such as the old king dying. Some liberties are taken such as Guildenstern being portrayed as a black woman.
The standout performance is Julia Stevenson as Gertude, widow of the old king, mother of Hamlet and now all loved up with Claudius, the old king's brother. This is shown in the production, as Hamlet speaks we see Gertude and Claudius kissing in the backdrop at a party. No wonder Hamlet is going mad.
Andrew Scott has attracted criticism for his role as Moriarty in the television series Sherlock, making him out as a mischievous petulant child than a master criminal. Here Scott gives a downbeat performance, a young man who has the weight of the world on his shoulders. He is certainly a man in mourning and also with burning anger as he sees what is going around him. Sometimes the mannerisms of the role he is more known for creeps in.
There was less comedy here as well, the one that bought the giggles in the theater was when everyone warmly greeted Guildenstern and not Rosencratz.
However watching three plus hours in one sitting of a play that has not fully opened up for the television screen does make your mind wander no matter how intense some of the actors are. It has not been long since I saw Kenneth Branagh's filmed version of Hamlet which was shot for the big screen and had an all star cast which I found more riveting.
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