British Black and Asian Shakespeare Performance Database
Hamlet (2009): Donmar Warehouse, Wyndham's Theatre
CAST INCLUDED: Ron Cook (Polonius); Jude Law (Hamlet); Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Ophelia); Kevin R. McNally (Claudius); Matt Ryan (Horatio); Alex Waldmann (Laertes); Penelope Wilton (Gertrude).
This production ran from 29 May - 22 August 2009. It then toured to Kronberg Castle, Elsinore from 25 - 30 August 2009 and then transferred to Broadway, playing at the Broadhurst Theatre for a 12 week season from 12 September 2009.
"Michael Grandage's speedy production for the Donmar in the West End season - coming in at just over three hours with some clever cutting and hectic acceleration towards the end - is looking just a bit over repetitive in the Donmar style of black brick and musty lighting design, with portentous sound track to match....Action is a prompt to words with Hamlet, not the other way round, which at least Law carries through in his non-stop equivocation, even when confronted with the one person he really loved in his life, Gugu Mbatha-Raw's curiously programmed Ophelia. She's pretty but blank, and goes mad with the wild flowers in a tediously melodic sing-song, isolated by Neil Austin's lighting rather than anyone else's cruelty." ~ Michael Coveney, Independent, 4 June 2009, in Theatre Record 2009, Issue 11
"Gugu Mbatha-Raw could do more to prepare for a breakdown that anyway lacks sexual horror." ~ Benedict Nightingale, The Times, 4 June 2009, in Theatre Record 2009, Issue 11
"The best support comes from Gugu Mbatha-Raw, whose touchingly bewildered Ophelia goes quietly mad instead of indulging in a psychiatric cabaret turn." ~ Michael Billington, The Guardian, 4 June 2009, in Theatre Record 2009, Issue 11
"Other roles have been less effectively cast. Alex Waldmann's Laertes resembles a bushy-tailed first-year undergraduate, and as Ophelia Gugu Mbatha-Raw, eschewing the histrionics sometimes associated with the part, heads too far in the opposite direction - towards a chilly restraint." ~ Henry Hitchings, Evening Standard, 4 June 2009, in Theatre Record 2009, Issue 11
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