Benedict Cumberbatch’s opening night in William Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ took place last night (5 August), and his fans were not disappointed with his performance.
Advanced tickets for the ‘Sherlock’ actor’s 13-week stint at the Barbican theatre sold out in record time, making it the fastest-selling play in British history, while fans of Benedict were photographed queueing around the block to try and get their hands on last-minute spare or returned seats.
Luckily for those who did manage to snag tickets, the play appeared to have more than lived up to the hype, with his performance gaining positive feedback from reviewers and audience members on Twitter.
Although the play is still currently in previews for the next three weeks, Benedict’s performance has still been lauded, with The Telegraph writing: “Cumberbatch’s interpretation of the title role... already commands and surprises, there are laughs and shocks, and with a cast that includes the always moving and intelligent Ciaran Hinds as Hamlet’s murdering uncle Claudius, he is ably supported.”
The Daily Mail concurred, giving the show five stars, adding: “His Hamlet in a hoodie was electrifying, a performance that veered from moments of genuinely hilarious comedy to plunge down to the very depths of throat scalding tragedy.
“Taking his triumphant bows at the end, Cumberbatch thanked the audience then headed off into the wings. He looked happy but exhausted and no wonder. Goodnight, sweet prince. You were completely amazing.”
And as for his fans on Twitter… well… take a look:
@twhiddleston just got back from seeing your good friend Benedict in Hamlet. Great show. Am so looking forward to this film. Looks wonderful— Hayley Rust (@ranger115uk) August 6, 2015
Guess who saw Cumberbatch in Hamlet at the Barbican tonight?
I am wrapped in the brilliance of Will S and Benedict right now— Gary FRIEND Adamsen (@GaryPSM) August 5, 2015
Watching Hamlet being played superbly by Benedict Cumberbatch. Bravo!— Steven Sander (@stevesander) August 5, 2015
So glad that was good. Solid concept. Stunning set. Benedict was amazing. Choreography needs work but all in all, very very good! #Hamlet— Lady (@Lady_C_M) August 5, 2015
Of course, not every review has been positive, with The Times giving the new production just two stars in their review, writing: “Alas, poor Benedict.
"It’s hard to flatten Hamlet: he is, after all, Shakespeare’s most quicksilver creation. As he wrestles with whether or not to avenge his father’s murder, our prince touches on sin, fate, truth, beauty - what he doesn’t do, as far as I recall, is distil three hours’ worth of philosophy into a Nat King Cole cliché.”
One audience member also accused Benedict of being the weak link in the production, accusing him of “overreacting” and consciously trying to live up to the acting greats who played Hamlet before him.
So, aside from Benedict over-acting & trying too hard to be a classic Olivier-esque Hamlet, the show was phenomenal!! Gorgeous & splendid💗☺️— elise (@_dreadfort) August 5, 2015
Benedict will be appearing as the titular role in ‘Hamlet’ at the Barbican Centre until 31 October.
After that, fans can look forward to him appearing in the forthcoming superhero film ‘Doctor Strange’, where he’ll be starring opposite Tilda Swinton, while Rachel McAdams is also rumoured to be among the cast.