As you may be aware, Benedict Cumberbatch will be playing Hamlet at the Barbican, London and his performance will be broadcast via NT-Live to cinemas on Thursday 15th October (at least in the UK) with an encore performance on 20th October. Tickets are on sale as from Monday, 16th March. (I’ve just booked mine on Tuesday 17th March, using my Picture House membership card – cost £40 – and the cinema is already half-booked for a show 8 months away!!!). For cinemas outside the UK you can find the dates when Hamlet will be playing at: https://ntlive.nationaltheatre.org.uk/productions/ntlout10-hamlet.
According to the IMDb entry for Benedict Cumberbatch, he has not yet performed in any Shakespeare production. But he has two in preparation. With the BBC, as part of their Hollow Crown series, he is taking the part of Richard III, which is due to be broadcast in 2016. And now, you can buy tickets for his performance as Hamlet with NT-Live. (see more about these two shows at our recent news story on them).
So if you’re a Shakespeare buff – and never go to the cinema – you may be wondering who is Benedict Cumberbatch, and what sort of Hamlet will he make? We thought we’d help you answer that question, and have done a little bit of research, and attach some video clips which may help you come to a view.
Before we get to the video clips, it’s worth pointing out that Benedict Cumberbatch perhaps first became well known taking the title role in a BBC series ‘Sherlock’ – a version of the Conan Doyle stories of Sherlock Holmes set in the present day. He also was a success on stage at the National Theatre in Frakenstein – see video clip below.
When we’d reasearched his performances, we found the most revealing clip was the following – his audition tape for the role of Smaug in The Hobbit. As we understand it, this audition clip was prepared to be sent to the audition team, and without their active involvement. The clip certainly demonstrates an amazing voice, but also a very imaginative approach to playing a dragon with no direction:
And continuing the beastly metaphor, and showing Benedict on the stage of the National Theatre, how about this trailer for Frankenstein?:
More recently, we’ve seen him in ‘The Imitation Game’ for which he was nominated for a ‘Best Actor’ Oscar. The following trailer shows, together with the other two clips, his versatility as an actor:
Now what is such an actor going to make of Hamlet??? Whatever it is, we can be sure it’s going to be interesting. You’d better book those tickets now….
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