May 11, 2012

Variety review of Hamlet - August 11, 2008 - David Benedict

"Even without its leading man, the new Royal Shakespeare Company "Hamlet" would be a serious achievement. Designer Robert Jones holds "the mirror up to nature" with his elegantly spare mirrored back wall and floor, providing the perfect revealing, chilly arena for Gregory Doran's unusually tense and clear production. All of which comprises a perfect setting for David Tennant's galvanizingly taut lead performance. 

His lean, spry Hamlet exudes youthful vigor and romantic passion, but the characterization's hallmark is quick-witted intelligence, allowing Tennant to illumine conflicting ideas at a gripping pace.  

...the boyish-looking character' in a downstage cornel ill-at-ease in a dark suit and staring determinedly through his champagne flute to the floor, is Tennant's silently intent Hamlet.
His command of the language is highly distilled. Beautiful but empty savoring of poetry is replaced by unusually dynamic, energized phrasing. Tennant is not interested in slowing drama up to illustrate an image, he's showing what his character is up to at any given moment. His mind works very fast and he speaks at the speed of thought, keeping audiences absolutely tied to his shifting perspective on Hamlet's predicament."