We went to see the RSC production of Hamlet tonight at the Novello Theatre on Aldwych and I am sorry to say that we didn't like it at all. In fact, I did something I have never done before and that was leave during intermission. It's no secret that we originally bought tickets because David Tennant of Doctor Who fame was starring as Hamlet but after he sustained his prolapsed disc injury, I was more than willing to give the rest of the cast a chance. Tennant's understudy, Edward Bennett, took over in the role of Hamlet and I must say that he gave an energetic, enthusiastic performance. In the end though a couple of things several things ruined it for us: we could barely hear what the actors were saying (and we were in the stalls!); they really mixed up the order of the scenes and left out some vital scenes; they mixed Shakespearean English and modern English (and not in a good way); there was no set design and they wore 1950's costumes (?); and all in all it was a confusing mish-mash of a production. So we decided to escape early (if you can call it that - it was already two hours into the play!!).
In a way, I am glad that David Tennant wasn't able to perform tonight because I might have tried to stay for the full play or convince myself that I enjoyed it. Sadly, though, I really didn't. I think really hard-core Shakespeare fans might enjoy it as a modern, minimalist take on Hamlet (in the way that as a music lover, I appreciate a remix of a favourite track) but I do think you'd need to be really familiar with the story of Hamlet (or fluent in Shakespearean English) in order to have made sense of this production.