Friday, December 4, 2009

Jude Law in Hamlet

People are at their best when watching marvelous, beautiful things. They become thoughtful, entranced, enlivened. For my birthday I was glad to be part of the audience at the Broadhurst.

On the screen, Jude Law is movie-star handsome; on stage he is merely attractive, which is just as well, because his appearance does not detract from his brilliant acting. I've never seen a better Hamlet. Law's Hamlet is vulnerable, active, intelligent, and arrogant--an arrogant royal, who has good reason to think before he acts. Commanding the stage, Law uses his hands to good effect: embracing or touching friends, his ill-fated mother, the skull of Yorick. His enunciation is clear and natural sounding.

All the speeches we know so well were fresh!

I thought about the theme of obedience and loyalty, which Shakespeare, who lived as a subject of the Crown, knew inside and out. The ghost of Hamlet's father orders Hamlet to obey him and avenge his murder; Polonius asks his son and daughter to obey him; Claudius asks Laertes to be 'governed by him in all things'. They obey. Better not to obey. Obedience sets the engines of death in motion.

Geraldine James gives a fine performance as Gertrude; she plays Hamlet's mother as a gracefully mannered conventional woman completely out of her depth; and Kevin McNally as Claudius is the smoothest murderer, except when confessing his sin. Bravos for Jude Law. It was a pleasure to see this actor go all out to show us how powerfully a man can act when all the forces of destiny are against him.


  1. mim, i am thrilled for you--what a great experience!
    what did you wear?
    where did you have dinner?

  2. I wore red and black and ate at Bistro Moderne: duck pate, orichette in venison sauce, and lemon bar with huckleberry ice cream and the thinnest cookie for desert. Another meal at Cookhouse downtown near the High Line: mussels, the best ever with a glass of prosecco. Plainer fare now that I'm home.

  3. Ahh, I love prosecco. I loved reading this. What a great review! I have never been a huge Jude Law fan except for his voice which is marvelous. Seattle is a great theater town. You should move here.

  4. Thanks, dear Radish! I may see Seattle yet.

  5. Oh, Happy Birthday.
    Oddly enough I was going to take a tiny present to you at the B.B's today, but went, instead, to Revere....but it will still come your way...having nothing to do with a birthday....
    I've never liked Jude Law so you're a very good advertisement...
    I bought some different groceries thanks to you and susan, but still, not much hope...