How has Mr T been received as Hamlet I hear you all not ask?!
Well, by all accounts, quite well. The man done good.
A BBC web site review by entertainment reporter Caroline Briggs said that “Tennant also uses his hair to great theatrical effect. From the sleek combed-back style of his first scene, he ruffles it to display despair, rage and madness. It deserves a credit of its very own.” That made me giggle.
In actual review of his performance she goes on to say “Overall, his performance is undoubtedly mesmerising. What he lacks in emotional intensity, he makes up for with wit, humour and stirring energy.”
Micahel Billington of The Guardian says of the production “This is a Hamlet of quicksilver intelligence, mimetic vigour and wild humour: one of the funniest I’ve ever seen.” And of Tennant’s performance… “Tennant is an active, athletic, immensely engaging Hamlet. If there is any quality I miss, it is the character’s philosophical nature, and here he is not helped by the production.” Overall praise for the production and 4 out 5 stars given.
Benedict Nightingale of The Times also gives the production 4 out of 5. On Mr T’s performance, he writes “Tennant is restless, curt and mocking when he needs to be, affectionate when he can be, and, apart from an occasional tendency to gabble, is pretty impressive. But most noticably he’s so dreamily reflective that you feel that Claudius’s fatal mistake was refusing him permission to resume his philosophy degree in the safety of faraway Wittenberg. Like Gordon Brown, who came to a preview, this very temporary leader is error-prone.”
Charles Spencer of The Telegraph is a little more dour with his praise. “What’s lacking, at present, is weight and depth. He delivers the great soliloquies with clarity, but he doesn’t always discover their freight of emotion.”
“Tennant’s prince seems merely resigned and wearily fatalistic, a reductive reading of a role that can offer a moving glimpse of grace, as the Christian imagery of the last act suggests.
There remains much to admire. It’s hard not to warm to a Hamlet who makes you laugh, and Tennant discovers almost every ounce of sarky humour, especially when baiting Oliver Ford Davies’s hilariously ponderous but poisonous Polonius and winding up the smarmy Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
Tennant is at his best though when he dares with his emotions and lets rip. The closet scene with Gertrude, when he confronts his mother with her moral laxity, standing astride her on the “incestuous sheets” of her bed, has a thrilling raw power.
And there is a beautiful moment when the ghost of his father seems to hug him and Tennant delivers a little gasp of love and grief. As the run continues, Tennant should trust his feelings, dig deeper, expose more of himself.”
Quentin Letts of the revered [sic] Daily Mail is the most scathing (not surprisingly – the Daily Mail be in praise of something that isn’t Helen Mirren’s breasts? God forbid!). I think it’s all summed up in the article’s title “Alas poor Dr Who…you’re okay but not out of this world.”
Lett’s begins as saying “At the Royal Shakespeare Company’s temporary home in Stratford he makes a sarcastic Hamlet, a selfish Hamlet, a Hamlet very much for our self-indulgent age.” Oh, hark at the irony delivered from a Daily Mail reporter!
“He is memorable, quirky, handsome in a fey, underfed sort of way. He even proves himself a dab hand at sword fighting. If the British Olympic fencing team requires reinforcements it need look no further. ”
That’s the best description of “sexy geek” I’ve ever seen! “Handsome in a fey, underfed sort of way.”
Letts also discredits the audiences appreciation with this statement…”The star buzz is palpable. On Monday night I saw about 30 members of the audience leap to their feet at the end to show delight at Mr Tennant’s performance. All but two of them were women.”
MEOW!!! And I’m sure he was holding himself back from saying “And the two that weren’t were probably ‘queer as folk'”.
He continues…”From the first scene, when he stands apart from the other courtiers in a modern-dress, electric- chandeliered Elsinore, Mr Tennant’s grieving prince feels sorry for himself.
When not pouting like a spoilt child he often has his mouth open low in disbelief or mockery.
The only thing you’ll do with a mouth like that, any nanny will tell you, is catch flies.
It is hard to reconcile this jawslung brattishness, dressed at times in jeans and scruffy red Tshirt, with a figure who supposedly inspires deep loyalty in Hamlet’s friend Horatio – or, indeed, with the prince who returns to announce: ‘This is I, Hamlet the Dane.’
Mr Tennant swallows this line, normally a moment of defiant self-discovery. He utters it with scarcely more force than a man answering the telephone.”
Obviously not a fan Quentin. Well, to each his own.
The overall general consensus does seem to be that he’s a very competent but not great Hamlet.
It hasn’t deterred me from trying to get tickets for the London run when they go on sale in September. A bit of Mr T for Christmas, yummy! The London run goes from early December, until March. I don’t care when within that timeframe I go. I ain’t fussed.