I saw this first at the Almeida (see review here) and was above the side of the stage so missed seeing all of the action. So I decided to go again to its West End transfer as it is at the Harold Pinter which is a relatively small West End theatre.
I am astounded that once again I sat for 3 hours and 40 minutes utterly captivated. I love Shakespeare but I never sit through a performance without my mind wandering at some points. But here, no. I listened to every word. Time stopped and it was only the beginnings of leg cramp that brought me round at the first interval. Juliet Stevenson has been replaced as Gertrude by Derbhle Crotty (Irish, like Scott), whom I though was even better. More warmer and maternal, yet still a queen. I was bowled over by Jessica Brown Findlay as Ophelia, and every time she was on stage interacting with Andrew Scott’s Hamlet my stomach clenched with suppressed emotion.
I rarely lose myself in anything. I can always stand back from myself and objectively analyse my emotions (I’ll tell my therapist). This was one of the rare instances when I could not separate my feelings from what I was watching. I cannot say why this production of this play moves me so much; brings me to tears that I cannot explain. But it does and I am glad of it.