Last night was the first night of previews for the new production of Hamlet featuring Benedict Cumberbatch. It’s breaking records for ticket sales. Fans have been lining up for days. Because, as we’ve seen, CumHards are the new TwiHards.
So…how did he do?
Mixed reviews, it seems. Some reviewers were ecstatic. Other reviewers, like Kate Maltby at The Times, weren’t impressed at all. The Times critic called it “Hamlet for kids raised on Moulin Rouge” and said that Benedict lacks “subtlety” while he “sweats around the stage”. Overall, she declared that this Hamlet is “pure theatrical self-indulgence”.
I single out The Times because The Times carries a lot of prestige. Like, who gives a f-ck what Jan Moir at the Daily Mail has to say in comparison, you know? And this is what’s caused some theatre controversy in London. The standard protocol for reviews is that you wait until press night before commenting. Previews are previews. You’re meant to work sh-t out during the preview period. And it’s especially unfair to criticise on the very first night of previews. Totally agree.
But if that’s the case, then you have to throw out everything…
Not just The Times and all the people who hated it, but also the people who loved it. What they think shouldn’t count either.
Here’s Benedict with Sophie Hunter leaving after his performance last night.