Hamlet @ the Broadhurst
Anyway. You ask: how was "Hamlet"? I answer: it's Shakespeare! And if you can tell me how to "review" Shakespeare I will give you not only the $126 I paid for the ticket but also the knock on the back of the head that was delivered unto me by the swarthy gentleman seated to my rear. Still, it was alive for me in a way it hasn't been before, settled with its humor, human in its rage and urgent in its madness. Also elegantly staged, in direct contrast to the Met dress rehearsal of "Tosca" I saw earlier in the day which, while beautifully sung, was artlessly arranged. Here they've taken a page from the "Mary Stuart" set design manual—not a surprise, since both were developed at the Donmar and both landed at the Broadhurst—which I love because it puts all the action where it should be: on the players and the words. Ron Cook as Polonius (and 1st Gravedigger!) and Matt Ryan (Horatio) were especially fine; Geraldine James I thought lacked that necessary spark that ties Gertrude to Hamlet like the noose around a throat. And how was Jude Law? Wonderful. Comfortable, confident, attuned, engaged and—yes, ladies, I say this is as a lady—beautiful.
But for all that, I also heard this for the first time—really heard it—after a seemingly endless day of sitting and watching, and I was moved:
Suit the action to the word, the word to the action; with this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature: for anything so overdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first and now, was and is, to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure.