Broadway’s Newest Tragedy

For a limited two month engagement, the Broadhurst Theater is filling its seats with Shakespearian devotees and theater-goers who want to see the beloved
tragedy Hamlet.

Jude Law does an exceptional job portraying the title character, bringing neurotic and anxious qualities to Hamlet’s personality, where former actors substituted with a conservative and calm insanity. Law’s acting ability depicts the transition from grief to insanity well. By using his lines and body movements, Law creates drama throughout the play and tension between him and his supporting characters. He also mixes a touch of humor into
his performance.

The story of Hamlet is set in Denmark and recounts how Prince Hamlet exacts revenge on his uncle Claudius, who murders Hamlet’s father to become the king. Hamlet encounters the ghost of his father who reveals that Claudius was responsible for his death and prompts Hamlet to kill his uncle. In order to uncover the truth, Hamlet re-enacts his uncle killing his father in a play he puts on for his mother and allegedly guilty stepfather. Soon after, Claudius’ actions launch Hamlet into a fit of revenge as he schemes to bring justice to his father’s murder.

The play is directed by Michael Grandage, who does a very good job at showing how the main character goes from overwhelming grief over the death of his father to a furious rage for vengeance.

Law does have his flaws though. For example, he sometimes screams his lines, making him sound like nails scratching a chalkboard rather than sounding dramatic.

Law’s performance does not rank with some of the greats like Ralph Fiennes and Ian Charleson, but is still a pretty good
Broadway debut.

Kevin McNally gives a convincing performance as the uncle-turned-stepfather of Hamlet. Claudius is portrayed like he has no remorse about the death of his brother.

Hamlet’s love interest, Ophelia, is played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw. After Hamlet scorns her and accidentally kills her father, Polonius, she abandons her natural and innocent womanly grace, and falls into deep despair and madness. Mbatha-Raw is a good actress, but does not have a strong voice and might be hard to hear from the back of the theater.

Overall, Hamlet comes across as an
interesting and entertaining play. The play does require some knowledge of the plot and Shakespearian language before entering the theatre and may cause confusion for audience members who are not familiar with Hamlet. The action starts off slow, but picks up as the plot builds suspense and the murder mystery unfolds. Despite its small flaws, Hamlet is a definite must-see for those who want to partake in a worthwhile Broadway show.