I finally saw the Donmar production of Hamlet with Jude Law. Good Lord in heaven, he was fantastic. I always enter into these star vehicles with a certain degree of trepidation and doubt but this guy really delivered the goods. After a few of his more impassioned soliloquies, he was awarded, justifiably, with exit applause. And he projected that stuff all the way up to the balcony where I was sitting.
The rest of the cast was fine, but nobody touched greatness the way Law did. Polonius was exceptionally good but the guy playing the ghost of Hamlet’s father reminded me of Jon Lovitz’s Mahster Thespian. His arms were flailing about and his voice would rise to a too-dramatic crescendo. It was a bit much but it was a small (albeit, important) part of the play.
The fall theater season is past its peak and soon I’ll be back to attending small, black box productions. Seeing a named actor on a Broadway stage is, I’m embarrassed to admit, a big thrill for me. I feel like a bit of a cheap celebrity whore.
Seeing the smaller, more intimate productions with a cast of unknown actors really allows you to cut through the bullshit and tell who is genuinely talented and who needs to keep their day job. I always feel bad for the latter.