Thursday, July 31, 2008
As Jude Law (Who’s Who) and David Tennant (Dr. Who) prepare to take their stabs at the melancholy Dane, critic Michael Billington recounts the 10 best Hamlets he’s seen over the past 50 years. In chronological order, they are Michael Redgrave (Stratford, 1958), Innokenty Smoktunovsky (Russian film, 1964), David Warner (Stratford, 1965), Derek Jacobi (Elsinore, 1979), Michael Pennington (Stratford, 1980), Jonathan Pryce (Royal Court, 1980), Stephen Dillane (Gielgud, 1994), Kenneth Branagh (film, 1996), Angela Winkler (Edinburgh, 2000) and Simon Russell Beale (National, 2000). Click here to read why he picked who he picked. Can’t say I’ve seen as many productions as Billington, but I’d like to add one, delete one and second one. Adrian Lester in Peter Brook’s production was amazing, Simon Russell Beale was so bad it made me cringe, and Kenneth Branagh’s RSC uncut version is one of the reasons I’m in theatre.