Monday, August 18, 2008


So, yes indeed, we had the best seats in the house for Hamlet and weren't we glad for that! We were aptly placed to observe Russell T. Davies down in the stalls and to avoid the carelessly thrown objects that flew from the stage into the audience. Such as Patrick Stewart's dart-like pen that shot out of his discarded jacket and thwacked against a wall. And, Mr Tennant's own fumbling with a footstool that slid into the face of a first row patron (lucky he caught it)

You can get a full idea of how the play played out at MG's site.

Let me just say that they made brilliant use of light and dark - a shiny black floor which the soldiers shone their Mulder-and-Scully torches on, which reflected back onto each other's faces. The rear wall mirrors that cracked to amazing effect. A brilliantly doddery Polonious, played by Star Wars favourite Oliver Ford Davies (Sio Bibble), a great to see Patrick Stewart (who almost laughed when, during the interrogation of Hamlet to ascertain the location of Polonious's body, Tennant opts to reply with the same deep, Stewartesque tones "He's in Heaven!").

Tennant is, as they say, a good Hamlet. Fully realised, brilliantly unhinged at times, funny and distraught - but, as the lady on the front counter said to us, it's not dark enough.

There was perhaps, too much humour. And while, as Laura pointed out, Shakespeare purposefully added comedy into his tragedy and tragedy into his comedy, Hamlet needs to be a far more brooding piece than it was.

Not that it ruined the enjoyment - certainly, Tennant's choices made for a more relatable Hamlet than, say, the knowing-Hamlet of Brannagh's (though we have just bought a copy of Brannagh's Hamlet because it's great).

Anhyoo, here's a piccy of David Tennant signing autographs - and yes, we were sad enough to join in, though we failed to get one.


So, MG isn't the only one lucky enough to see the new representation of Hamlet. I have too. After we sat down (front row of the circle, right in front of the stage) in the best seats in the house, a lady toddled over to us and quietly enquired about how long ago we'd purchased our tickets... well, last September actually.

Oh, she sighed... are you RSC members?

Damn right!

It was a crazy old weekend. That morning, on our way to visit Shakespeare's grave in ye olde church, we passed GMTV's Penny Smith in the graveyard. We all made eye contact, and while my wife gave a knowing nod I kind of gurned as I tried to work out where I'd seen the short blonde lady, sans-makeup who sounded like someone off tv


We're such geeks - we didn't accost her, though I did suggest to Laura that she should have papped her and we could have made some money from Heat magazine. But she wasn't having any of it - so we giggled our way into church (Bet you didn't even see the bloke's face, who she was with? Laura asked me... There was a bloke with her?) And Laura promptly put the money to see Shakespeare's grave into a giant old-wood chest upon which was sat a visitor's book.

The £3 landed with a dull thud - not a chink of coin on coin to be heard.

What are you doing? I asked.

She explained about paying the money, but, as I pointed out, the Church coffers were requesting money halfway down the church, and payment for Shakespeare's grave was at the far end. She'd literally dropped gold into an empty box that probably wouldn't be opened for another 100 years.