Monday, December 7, 2009

The Talented Mr. JUDE LAW's Final Broadway Performance in HAMLET

The Donmar Warehous production of HAMLET on Broadway played its final performance yesterday at the Broadhurst Theatre. I finally saw Hamlet for the first time with the Oscar nominated actor (The Talented Mr. Ripley), JUDE LAW in the title role. I made some pictures of Mr. Law as he greeted his fans and signed autographs at the stagedoor of the Broadhurst after the performance. reports that HAMLET grossed over $1 million in its final week on Broadway. The production recouped its $2.5 million investment after seven weeks, making it an "official" hit play. Michael Grandage directed a cast that featured Ross Armstrong (Cornelius), Harry Attwell (Guildenstern), Ron Cook (Polonius, 1st Gravedigger), Ian Drysdale (Osric), Peter Eyre (Ghost of Hamlet's Father, Player King), Jenny Funnell (Player Queen), Michael Hadley (Barnardo, Priest, Captain), Colin Haigh (Member of the Court), Sean Jackson (Reynaldo), Geraldine James (Gertrude), Jude Law (Hamlet), Gwilym Lee (Laertes), James Le Feuvre (Member of the Court), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Ophelia), John MacMillan (Rosencrantz), Kevin R. McNally (Claudius), Henry Pettigrew (Marcellus, 3rd Player, 2nd Gravedigger,), Matt Ryan (Horatio), Alan Turkington (Francisco, Fortinbras, 4th Player) and Faye Winter (Member of the Court).
Here is a roundup of the reviews of the play:
Associated Press - “He rants. He rails. He seizes Shakespeare’s most famous play by its well-known soliloquies and doesn’t let go. The actor’s turbocharged performance as the anguished Danish prince is not particularly subtle, but it’s well-spoken and clear. And eminently watchable.”

New York Times - “Mr. Law, a rakish leading man of film, doesn’t disappear onstage the way some screen stars do. Though small-boned and delicately featured, he fills the theater to the saturation point. But the finer shades of feeling that a movie camera has been known to extract from his face — most notably in his Oscar-nominated performance in ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’ (1999) — are rarely in evidence here.”

Variety - ” However, the cohesiveness of the production’s mostly monochromatic visual scheme is not matched by similar consistency of concept or emotional depth. It’s an accessible presentation, but rarely exciting and even less often moving.”

Post - “Imported from London’s Donmar company, this is the epitome of British-style quality: swift, well- acted, easy on the eyes and a breeze to follow. It’s not an unforgettable “Hamlet,” but it’s a chic, well-executed one — perfect gateway Shakespeare.”

Daily News - “Grandage’s ‘Hamlet’ is lean, focused and electrifying, like his last Broadway outing, the potent political drama ‘Frost/Nixon.’ There’s no artificiality or fussy frills, and the bard’s characters and their relationships seem vivid and real.” Bloomberg - ” To all Jude Law fans, the Broadway revival of ‘Hamlet’ starring him and courtesy of London’s Donmar Warehouse is genially recommended. Others it will surely disappoint. Were it a car, it would most likely be recalled as a defective model.”

Hollywood Reporter - “This is an uncommonly coherent production, free of gimmicks and transmitting the play’s themes with true clarity. Grandage has not weighed down the proceedings with any overarching “concept” but rather simply presents the work in all its thrilling emotional complexity.”

Newsday - “Indeed, if your father were murdered by his brother, who stole his kingdom and married your mother, you’d definitely want Law to avenge the crime.”

USA Today - “This earthy eloquence is especially striking in Law’s performance. His Hamlet is no brooding philosopher/prince; he’s an angry young man, a bundle of nerves forever threatening to explode. But Law also captures the more tender feelings and contradictions that make this tortured hero at once elusive and essentially human — particularly in his soliloquies, which are both muscular and exquisitely lyrical.”

Los Angeles Times - “Jude Law may not be the most emotionally piercing or philosophically profound Hamlet, but he brings an admirable balance to this most challenging of Shakespearean roles. “

Time Out - “Law starts out too overwrought, moaning and gnawing through the great soliloquies as if they were causing him intestinal distress. Yet we listen closely to him, and he holds court at the center of his scenes with an intensity, intelligence and awestruck wonder that puts most Hamlets I’ve seen to shame.”

Back Stage - “Unfortunately, it’s also a metaphor for Michael Grandage’s unbalanced staging: a brilliant star surrounded by bleak nothingness. While Law gives a muscular, intelligent performance in the most challenging role in world literature, the supporting cast and the director’s concept barely register.”

Financial Times - “His reading does not cut deep, until a fairly devastating recitation of the ‘fall of a sparrow’ speech.”

New York Observer - “He’s an energetic, kinetic, athletic Hamlet for an energetic, kinetic, amped-up Hamlet. Its energy—and our interest—flag only in its second half, when Hamlet is absent, sent off to England. Beyond that, though, what is there to say? Hamlet is Hamlet, and either you’re going to see it or you’re not.”

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