Tom Hiddleston’s Hamlet opened last night in London. The extremely exclusive run of just three weeks and limited number of 3680 tickets available only through a ballot, was a calculated measure by the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
To have a fundraiser that is also all about the art instead of just a “big old gala” was important for RADAaccording to its director Edward Kemp. In addition it was also a way of getting Sir Kenneth Branagh and Tom Hiddleston to find space in their busy schedules and to fulfill their longtime plan of doing Hamlet together – a project they had been talking about doing already for 10 years.
As accomplished Shakesperian actor, Hamlet is right up Hiddleston’s alley. Michael Billington says in his 4/5 star review for The Guardian that Hiddleston’s Hamlet has both the same reckless impetuosity as his performance as Coriolanus and the quiet grace of Cassio in Othello. The performance is a combination of sweet sadness combined with incandescent fury. “He suggests a fierce intellect gnawed by intense melancholy and yet subject to bouts of intemperate rage.” says Billington. The Times praised the production as “terrific” which is without a doubt accurate.
The critics were not given any tickets as RADA wanted to maximise the fund raised so very few professional reviews can be expected as they will be limited to those who were succesful in the ballot. Nonetheless Hamleston will be the talk of the town for Hiddlestoners for the upcoming weeks.
The 160-seat Rada Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre is an intimate setting where the audience is very close to the stage which brings its own uniqueness to the production. Setting such as this makes the experience even more exquisite and the people who wanted to see it but didn’t have the luck in the ballot even more vexed.
Nicknamed as The Grief Hamlet by the first viewers the play seems to be that in many ways indeed.