Jude Law took to the West End stage in London, England last night to begin his run in the new theatrical production of the immortal bard William Shakespeare‘s masterpiece Hamlet. Here is a Gollum-esque promo pic released from the play along with portions of very favorable reviews of his performance in the production:
Jude Law defied critics last night with a stunning performance of Hamlet. The Oscar-nominated actor was greeted with a rapturous applause after his powerful portrayal of the troubled Danish prince in the Wyndham’s Theatre production of the Shakespearean tragedy. Seven years after a mixed response to his run as Dr Faustus at the Young Vic, Jude showed off the full extent of his acting skills in the powerful, emotional production. Starring alongside Jude in the Michael Grandage production is Penelope Wilton as Hamlet’s mother Gretrude, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Ophelia, Kevin R McNally as Claudius and Alex Waldman as Laertes. His performance as Hamlet comes several months after Doctor Who David Tennant gave a strikingly different take on the distressed Dane. Reviews of Jude’s performance have been mostly positive, with only the Independent describing his as “fine” while frequently comparing him to Tennant. The Guardian’s Michael Billington wrote: “What exactly does Law bring to Hamlet? Principally, a sense of moody solitude and moral disgust… Law’s Hamlet has the right inwardness and self-awareness.” Evening Standard’s Henry Hitching said: “As the scholar-soldier-prince, Law’s performance is detailed and powerful. He brings a rumpled charisma to the role: his Hamlet is both disgusted and dangerous.” The Telegraph’s Charles Spencer writes: “There are a few rough edges, moments when Law seems to be skating on the surface of the role rather than digging deep, but this is already a deeply moving, lucidly spoken Hamlet which I’m sure will grow even stronger in the course of the run.” The Times’ Benedict Nightgale: “His verse-speaking is immaculate and his charisma comes powering out from below the pock-marked columns, black walls and towering gates of Christopher Oram’s grim set.” Speaking ahead of the opening night, Jude admitted he felt an empathy with Hamlet after being let down in his life. He said: “I’m a lot more cynical now than I was. I used to have optimism and the belief that people would usually do the right thing, and that has been somewhat tainted by experience, which I think mirrors Hamlet’s journey. He’s let down by people.”
I don’t immediately always think first of Jude Law as an amazing actor but I have to admit that I’ve pretty much loved him in everything he’s done. He’s one of those solid actors that always puts on a believable performance every single time. I am very excited to see him as Dr. Watson in the forthcoming film Sherlock Holmes (alongside Robert Downey, Jr.‘s Holmes) but I’m totally intrigued by this notion of Law as Hamlet. While Macbeth is my favorite Shakespeare play, I really enjoy Hamlet as well. I’d love to be able to see Jude Law in this production. Perhaps if it does really well, it will eventually make its way to Broadway. In any event, I’m happy to know that Jude‘s performance in London is being met with such great reviews. See, he’s not just a pretty face after all.