David Tennant, known on both sides of the pond as the tenth incarnation of Doctor Who, has wowed ‘em as the gloomy Dane. Robert McCrum, drama critic at The Guardian, concludes that following Tennant’s performance as Hamlet, theatergoers
came out into the nipping and eager air of the Aldwych [theater] at about 11 o’clock conscious of having seen the best and most intelligent Hamlet of recent times; if not a rival to Olivier (who, now, can recall that performance anyway?) then quite the equal of Jonathan Pryce’s memorable version at the Royal Court in 1980. David Tennant is a superb actor and he was supported by one of the best RSC ensembles in living memory. I think I was lucky to see theatrical history in the making.
Not having seen the show, I can’t say if the review is hyperbolic or not, but I’m thinking—one Doctor Who goes onto Hamlet, and another goes onto voiceovers for Little Britain. Indeed, it’s an unfair comparison, but I had to work Little Britain into the post somehow.
Tennant’s Hamlet actually closes tonight. I’m sure you’ll find it on DVD soon.
Personally (and blasphemously, I’m sure), I find the filmed version of Olivier’s Hamlet a bit hyperbolic. Sure, he was good, but he was no Ethan Hawke (kidding–although Hawke’s version did have some interesting touches).