mon 22/07/2024

Two new Hamlets off the telly | reviews, news & interviews

Two new Hamlets off the telly

Two new Hamlets off the telly

Michael Sheen and John Simm move into Elsinore

It's an axiom trotted out in the acting profession that a young male actor measures himself against the role of Hamlet, much as an older one does with Lear. It's been announced this week that a couple more are having a stab at the Prince of Denmark. Michael Sheen will be the Young Vic's Dane in winter 2011, while Sheffield will see John Simm's this autumn. And we already know that the next tranche of Hamlets will also include Rory Kinnear at the National later this year

All very intriguing. Sheen, 41, is going to be the oldest Hamlet in a while. Simon Russell Beale was at the north end of the character's playing range, though no Dane in recent memory has been quite as long in the tooth as Alan Rickman at 47. But for the most part, Hamlets are getting easier on the eye. Jude Law, recently nominated for a Tony Award, was straight Tinseltown casting. What this fresh round of castings suggests is that the road to Elsinore is increasingly peopled with time travellers.

Sheen has famously worked through a gallery of figures from England's past (there's one more instalment in his trilogy of Blair performances to come). Simm, who will be reunited in Sheffield with Paul Miller, his director in the Bush production of Elling, went back in time in Life on Mars. David Tennant went back and forth in Doctor Who. You'll get very short odds on Matt Smith murdering Polonius behind an arras once this fresh round of Hamlets have had their turn on the stage.

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Christopher Eccleston (not Ecclestone) did Hamlet long before he did Doctor Who.

Thanks for your comment, Poly. My mistake(s). I've altered the copy in accordance with your correction by simply deleting the offending sentence.

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