Ahead of tonight’s very special anniversary encore screenings of Hamlet in cinemas around the world, enjoy this exclusive clip of Rory Kinnear performing a soliloquy…
Find your nearest venue at http://ntlive.nationaltheatre.org.uk/productions/15342-hamlet
The dagger soliloquy – light through cracks in wall made a dagger shape on the ground. This is a wonderful idea and I think that having the soliloquy delivered in total darkness except for this would have been incredible. The added lights were superfluous, undermining this image on the floor which I didn’t even notice until shortly before it vanished, and I thought the two floating daggers at either end of the church aisle looked pretty rubbish.
Outstanding performance from Ray Fearon as Macduff! Rolsalie Craig as Lady Macduff was also very strong.
As Macbeth, Kenneth Branagh gave a very competent performance. His understanding of the language was clear. He picked up the pace of the verse a lot more than he does when performing Shakespeare on film which made it much more immediate and exciting. However, it was like watching his bag of tricks; he gave a very good interpretation but the performance felt unspontaneous. During the soliloquies he managed to look just about everywhere – delivering lines into the middle distance, to the crucifix hanging from the ceiling, the back wall and to a handful of mud – but he never once looked at, or acknowledged the presence of, the audience.
I felt that Alex Kingston’s performance of Lady Macbeth was very peculiar, lacking any rawness or intensity. I really struggled to understand her performance choices. She spoke in an overly affected and often monotonous voice and her movement was very strange. At the start, she was incredibly still then, as soon as she entered the action, it appeared that she could not stop moving, possibly even that her restlessness was the cause of her sleepwalking. Running around the stage during her ‘unsex me here’ soliloquy dispelled the tension and her seeming desire to get back to the feast rather than to convince Macbeth to kill Duncan made her argument unpersuasive and his statement that ‘I am settled’ unconvincing. This was completely incongruous with the character that Lady Macbeth was at the beginning of the play. Oddly, her sleepwalking soliloquy was delivered on a balcony, a long way above the audience’s heads and therefore too far away to have much impact.
Drumbeats between every scene added nicely to the mood but would often drown out the first few lines of scenes.
The church setting was wonderful! We were all sitting on hard, wooden and it was extremely hot. By the end of the performance it was physically very uncomfortable, sweaty and the smell of the mud-filled church aisle was strong. The wonderful thing about this is that it prevented the audience from relaxing at any point during the play; we were forced to remain present and alert.
The apparitions scene was very well done with fire unexpectedly bursting out of the ground and with the actors beneath a cloth, moving it to look like the witches’ cauldron, and with the material pressed tightly against their faces to form the shape of the apparitions.
I loved the idea that Macbeth would have won the fight with Macduff had it not been for his knowledge the witches’ prophesy. As he is about to kill Macduff, he boasts about his ‘charmed life’. Macduff’s next words shock Macbeth and he hesitates. Macduff uses this hesitation to get the fight back and to win.
So looking forward to all of these - though I’m still not convinced by the Coriolanus casting yet.
Don’t forget the encore screening of Hamlet! I saw it the first time round and it was AMAZING. I liked Rory Kinnear’s Hamlet even more than Tennant’s, and I love Tennant’s.
Brilliant set of Shakespeare screenings coming up!
— Icarus by Rebecca Baggett
Very pleased to have got a ticket to see Kenneth Branagh’s Macbeth in July!! Fastest sell out I’ve ever seen!
The Three Minute Hamlet - Seamus Kennedy
(song starts at about 0:44)