Hamlet critical interpretations

John Caird 2001 In the 20th century, Hamlet has, on the whole been played as a heroic failure, sometimes a Chaplinesque figure, the ‘little man’ struggling against injustice and an oppressive regime
Susannah Clapp 2010 David Tennant A young man sunk in a melancholy dream and a prince of parody
Susannah Clapp 2010 Jamie Ballard An almost revolutionary sane Hamlet. This was Hamlet as a young man whose indecisive mind was running away with itself
RSC website Toby Stephens young and virile Hamlet (2004, Michael Boyd), was unusual among recent interpretations in that he possessed ‘royal qualities.’ A glamour and panache singling him out from those around him
Michael Billington Pryce 2008 Jonathan Pryce (1980) restored a genuine sense of danger. There was something about Pryce’s razor sharp intensity that made you feel that at any moment he might actually overcome his scruples and kill Claudius
Derek Jacobi Hamlet can be a man of great action. He loves it. He’s in his element. Throughout the play he’s been a man of great emotional action
Henry Hitchings Andrew Scott’s Hamlet (2017) is engaging and accessible, but also strange and dangerous. It’s a performance that combines fragility, charm, biting humour and predatory desperation
Michael Billington Kinnear What Kinnear portrays marvellously is a deeply rational intellectual seeking to cope with a world that makes increasingly less sense
Nick Walton Sam West’s Hamlet was a typical young student back from university . This was an anti-establishment Hamlet who constantly challenged the world that Claudius tried to build around him
Michael Billington Beale Simon Russell Beale’s great quality was an endless capacity for moral disgust at the surrounding depravity. He seemed genuinely shocked at the realisation that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern had been sent for, or that Ophelia had been used as a tactical decoy
Patrick Carnegy Jonathan Slinger is a virtuoso of the petulant, explosive, and often tearful mode
The Sunday Referee 1934 John Gielgud’s Hamlet has the melancholy and philosophical quality of Hamlet and the ability to suggest that man of action that Hamlet was before the play began
Sunday Telegraph Mark Rylance veered between tremulous weakness and mad pranks
John Keats 1819 Keane made a revolution in acting when compared to his predecessors
William Winter 1863 Edwin Booth’s impersonation had wealth of emotion, exalted poetry of treatment and a dream like quality that could not fail to fascinate , but above all, when at its best the terrible reality of suffering
Edward R Russell 1885 Henry Irving could cause his whole being to be violently excited and close to hysteria or madness

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