doylefan22 (doylefan22) wrote,

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Hamlet - The summary

This week I have been helping Dad decorate my parent's bedroom. But this time last week I was in Stratford preparing to watch Hamlet...

I've decided to just do this as two bullet point sections and then pictures otherwise this will end up several thousand words long.

General/Meet/Non-play stuff:

- Got delayed by an hour on the motorway on Friday because some idiot decided that the best way to endear the public to his cause (Father's For Justic) was to climb on the gantry over the M25 near Heathrow and cause massive delays. Well, I have news for him. Fortunately Chris Hoy and his massive thighs saved me from being stuck too long because I left home late to watch the cyclists win their gold medal and so missed the worst of it.

- The B&B was lovely. Very welcoming, nice room, reverse TARDIS bathroom (smaller on the inside). Bill Bailey would be most pleased by the tea and coffee making facilities but disappointed by the lack of trouser press.

- I can't believe Ask managed to take 25 of us for dinner on little notice. One of the waiters got a good laugh out of the fact there was only one bloke amongst us. Obviously we didn't scare Mr sal101010 off at panto. He’s made of tough stuff.

- We introduced our American sisters to Pimms (‘Pimms o’clock!) which went down well. Seven jugs well.

- dune_drd made the cutest little glow in the dark Adipose (I so had a mental block on that name – asimo? Asbo?)

- When you can't get on the ghost tour just make your own up (or sneakily sit on the other side of the wall and listen to the real one...). Bonus points for include the words 'from beyond the grave' and 'they'd been dead for 30 years'.

- The pub we met in was called the Dirty Duck (why don’t we have pubs named like that down here? We’ve just got a Queen’s Head – where’s the originality in that?!). Very nice place. Although they did lock us in the beer garden (don't ask) and I was disappointed not to see David Tennant clambering over the trellis for a pint (again, don't ask).

- Bunnies seem to have a magical ability to make a long walk to escort someone back to their B&B seem much shorter.

- I MET RUSSELL T DAVIES! How random is that? Of all the days for him to come and see it, he chose the same one as us! (Poor sod). He was just standing there, outside the theatre, having a fag. Deciding ‘what the hell’ I joined some of the others in asking whether he’d mind having a photo or two. The bloke was an utter delight. What a gent. Polite, warm, friendly. Top guy. And even__kali__ was brave and had a pic with him (how many times did we see JB before I pushed you at him?!). He was sitting in the row behind us in the theatre too and was in front of me as we walked back in after the interval and he very politely held the door open for me. Bless.

- After the play we tried to get autos but seeing the large crowd I decided there wasn't a chance so positioned myself on a wall to get some good pics instead. Some of our group got close but I don't think anyone got DT's auto. He wasn't out for very long (I blame RTD myself - probably waiting for him with a beer). We did laugh when he went to leave and couldn't get back inside - an expression of amusement and probably a small bit of fear on his face, poor love.

- We went on the proper ghost tour in the evening. About five minutes in, one of our party had a bit of experience and, being a nice soul, I legged it out after her. I know if it was me I wouldn't want to walk back to the others at the pub on my own! I missed the rest of the tour but got half a bottle of wine out of it so I'm not complaining.


- For those who don't know this is in the Courtyard theatre. I liked the space very much. It's a good mixture of a proper Shakespearian theatre and something more modern. We were scattered throughout the place but me, __kali__, chicklet73 and paleologa were on row B, stage left (it was a thrust stage). Very good views. Particularly of Mr Tennant's backside which was a perfect adequate compensation for the few times we couldn't see his face.

- The set/costumes – They used a minimalistic approach, bringing on only the props they needed in order to set the scene. Often this was nothing, at times it was a bed, throne, grave etc...I thought this worked well because it made the story less tied to any time period. What they used could have been 500 years old but it could have been 5, and with a story with themes relevant across the ages, that ambiguity worked well. As did the modern costumes. Shakespearian dress would have really distracted from the production I think so I’m glad they kept it all fairly simple. The floor and back wall were mirrored which was used to great effect a couple of times – I’d love to see the mechanism they used for shattering the glass after the bullet shot.

Lighting – Special mention because it was excellent, especially the darker scenes which they managed to make dark and still keep the visibility. Using the torches to bounce light off the floor and light each other during the opening scene was genius. I liked the way they did the illusion of fireworks too.

David Tennant as Hamlet
- Damn he was good.
- Really, really good.
- He actually emerses himself in the character very well - it took me until mid way through the second half before I actually inwardly went   'omg! That's David Tennant!' which I think is massive credit to his performance.
- I loved the way he started all silent grief and barely contained anger at the opening meeting because there was a quiet intensity there of the like that he didn't get to do for most of the rest of it. And I really didn’t mind that he crouched down with his backside facing us for his first soliloquy. Can’t imagine why.
- He spent a lot of play in bare feet - he has long, delicate feet to match his hands.
- His fingers are oddly mesmerising. In one scene he's flicking through pages of a book and I really couldn't stop looking at his finger work. - There were Doctor-ish twinges to the portrayal at times but, having seen his other work, they're really Tennant mannerisms rather than ones he only uses with the Doctor so that's hardly surprising.
- He still acts with his hair more than any person I've ever seen. The image of him with his hair sticking out of an awry crown, in bare feet and a tux really worked for his brand of madness.
- His portrayal of Hamlet's madness was very interesting. He was obviously disturbed, obsessive, angry and grieving but mad? Too me, not so much. Not mad in the 'not responsible for his actions' kind of way. In fact I think he played up on the madness because other characters were calling him mad and it suited him to go 'yeah I'm crazy me!'. The scene where he was gaffer taped to the office chair (*waits for fangirls to revive from that mental imagine*) - he knows his apparent mental instability is very disturbing, worrying and even embarrassing for Claudius and so he acts crazy. Similiar with the play within a play scene. His pelvic thrusting and the pronounced country matters - he's got this barely contained mad glee about him but he is perfectly compus mentus the whole time. He knows entirely what he's up to and he's trying to get to Claudis as much as he can/
- Damn is he energetic. He was bouncing and running and leaping all over the place. There were times when I really thought he would come a cropper (one time he half did when he tripped up the throne stairs). He also managed to throw a foot stool into the bloke in front of me and Ophelia's letters completely off the stage. Boy does not know his own strength.
- He's a decent fencer but there should have been more. Because it's hot.
- Talking of hot, there were many occassions where he reached up and it lifted up the bottom of his t-shirt....hmm, tummy....hmm, happy trail...
- The scene with his mother was genuinely gripping. I don't know what it was like from elsewhere but it was right in front of us and the energy there was just 'wow'. You could tell he loved his mother and he was so disappointed and angry with her. The way he grabbed her and shouted and much tension in that scene. He hates and loves her and doesn't know what to do as he towers over her, demanding answers. Probably my favourite scene in the whole thing.
(This isn't as eloquent as I'd like to explain just how brilliant he was - chicklet73 wrote about it much better than me!)

Patrick Stewart as Claudius
- Awesome. Buckets of.
- He played a very charming figure. He was a smooth, politician of a man and I think that worked very well because you certainly didn't hate him which gave the play an interesting edge. Especially when praying for forgiveness for the murder of his brother - you know he's wrong but what you see on the outside is a man doing a lot of good for his country.
- Equally clusmy as Tennant at one point he ripped his jacket off and a pen flew out of his pocket straight over our heads. Could have had someone's eye out!
- He was very intimidating as the ghost although he looks all sorts of wrong with stuck on hair.
- His motivation for drinking the poison at the end were unclear (he drunk it of his own accord, it was not forced upon him). Personally I think he decided he'd lost. I think he genuinely loved Gertrude and with her gone and him about to be revealed as a killer, he had nothing left to stick around for.
- Him saying 'it shall be so' sent me and __kali__ into muffled giggles. Had he accidentally said 'make it so' I would have lost it.

Oliver Ford Davies as Polonious
- Very funny. Played the bumbling statesman well.
- Made him a gentle baffoon and that made you feel genuine sadness over his death.

The rest of the cast I don't have to hand so...

- Brave girl for stripping to her underwear (although she certainly had the figure to pull it off).
- Her tiny, hand holding interaction with Hamlet near the start set up their affection well without saying anything.
- The 'get thee to a nunery' scene was very heart breaking. She was being horribly used there.
- I, personally, did not like the way she portrayed her madness over her father's death. I thought it was OTT. I would have gone for a quiet, distant, switched off kind of grief which I think would have been a hundred times more unsettling.

- She was a brilliantly ambiguous character. The poor woman was all grace and serenity on the outside but she was sadly ignored and pushed aside as little more than a decoration.
- From this portrayal I don't believe she knew Claudis had killed old Hamlet and she didn't want to hear the accusations because if her son is right then she's inadvertantly done something terrible. And what she do? Divorce him? Me thinks not.
- She didn't get many laughs although I grinned when she corrected her husband getting Rosencrantz and Guildenstern mixed up - nice in joke.

There were many, many other good things and good performances but this would be twice as long if I mentioned them all. Pleased bring out a DVD!


Shakespeare's digs. He wasn't at home.

Everyone's favourite part of any tourist attraction - the gift shop.

Some of us outside the gift shop. We brought many purchases. I got a teeny tiny copy of Hamlet and a little note pad with cat related Shakespeare humour on the front.

The Falstaff Experience building where the ghost tours are at night. Apparently it is well haunted. Yvette Fielding got a spoon chucked at her and everything.

Amazingly that isn't all of us. When we were actually all there I think there was about 30 of us.

Me and some bloke named Russell. He's very tall. Or 'a ridiculous giant of a man' as he himself told me when I said I felt so tiny standing next to him. We are sunglasses twinnies.

David surrounded by fangirls and boys.

I got a chest hair photo! Yay for David and his open neck shirt!

Horatio. The actor's name escapes me but he was very, very good.

Gertrude - I was amazed i got this pic amongst a mass of waving programs.

Mini-Ten got his backside signed.

dune_drd's  post Hamlet pose.

Mini Tens declare it Pimms o'clock

You leave your glass of wine alone for five seconds and some lush, plastic time lord comes and claims it...

I'm sure we could come up with an answer as to why Mini-Jack's legs do that.

Proof that with a few drinks inside them anyone will do the YMCA

And then Mini-Jack tries to take photos of himself whilst Rose whips him with mint. That Pimms has a lot to answers for.

Many, many thanks to __kali__ for organising the whole thing. And huge thanks to all who came - to those I know well, to those I've met before and to the newbies. I won't list you all because I'm bound to forget someone and then I'd feel guilty. Just know you we're all fantastic and I had a brilliant time. See you at xmas! Or next summer.

Tags: meets
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