Page last updated at 11:46 GMT, Wednesday, 6 August 2008 12:46 UK

Tennant in Hamlet: Your reviews

David Tennant in Hamlet. Copyright: Ellie Kurtzz/RSC

David Tennant, known to millions as BBC TV's Doctor Who, has returned to his thespian roots as the lead in Hamlet.

Some BBC News website readers went to see him on the previews and the opening night and sent us their own reviews of his performance:

Read what the press said about his performance


We saw Hamlet last night. A superb production by the RSC with a brilliant performance by David Tennant (as Hamlet), with very strong support by Patrick Stewart (as Claudius, Hamlet's uncle) and the rest of the cast. Tennant was the epitome of a young troubled and disturbed young man, learning that his uncle has become king by murdering his father, then marrying his mother. Fantastic acting and overall production.
Anthony Elton, Milton Keynes

I went to see Hamlet on the Saturday 2nd August, so basically, I was lucky enough to see the preview. Unfortunately, even though I booked 6 months in advance the only tickets left were standing at the top of the courtyard theatre. As an actor myself, David Tennant has always been a huge inspiration of mine, even back in his theatre days and Shakespeare is something I feel very passionate about... so standing or not, I was not going to miss this production. And from the moment the play started I completely forgot I was standing at all... to stand for 3 hours and not even realise it is a real compliment to the play. David Tennant is absolutely mesmerising... he created a Hamlet that was not so far out of touch to the ordinary person... even if you could not understand the elaborate language, you could still relate to the character. His moments of comedy are genius. His despair is heartbreaking to watch. And the living legend that is Patrick Stewart fails to disappoint. His presence alone leaves you awestruck.
Katie Fry, Blackburn

I saw Hamlet on Friday 1st August. I was mesmerised by the performance, this was the second time I've seen Hamlet and I thought it was fantastic. Subtle, funny and very, very moving. During the second half I was so moved large tears fell down my face. ALL the performances were superb, Tennant was spaniel like in his exuberance, I only wish I could go again. FANTASTIC
Anne Smith, Birmingham

My girlfriend and I were in Stratford on a weekend break and had no idea that Hamlet was playing or that 'the doctor' was in it. We naively went to the tourist information office to see if there were any tickets left, only to find that tickets had been sold out for months. We went to the theatre anyway to have a look and saw a short line of people queuing for returns. We joined the line and after just a couple of hours wait we were rewarded with what the ticket office attendant referred to as "the best seats in the house" (the front row of the circle, right in the centre of the stage). We thought the play was absolutely amazing and even for people like us who have a very limited knowledge of Shakespeare we would highly recommended it.
Martin, London

David Tennant was indeed a force to be reckoned with. His chameleon-like changes were totally in keeping with the character. Applause, too, should go to a completely fascinating Oliver Ford Davies. For a nano-second we all thought, (shock, horror!!) he had forgotten his lines but he played an elderly statesman with the onset of Alzheimer's to perfection creating both humour and sympathy for his state. Ophelia's madness was inspiring, especially when we learnt that she keeps changing it to keep the rest of the cast on their toes and forced to react naturally. An excellent piece of casting and directing; certainly something I would go to again!
Pamela Howe, Royal Leamington Spa

Really is it one of the great ones - he is SUPERB. Maybe he lacks gravitas, but he and Laertes are played very callow, so that fits. He gets the wit and the poetry and lots of emotion, especially the first three soliloquies (I didn't like the moving to an earlier scene and the cuts to "to be or not to be....") And he got the "nor-nor west" feigned madness thing without being tricksy. He got some of the turn on a sixpence emotional gear changes superbly well, really surprised you with some of the ways of taking the lines ("Not a whit", "Now is the very witching time...") Great duel and final speeches too. Fabulous production all round, with one glaring exception - the Ophelia was simply dire. It will be interesting to see how the critics react - there's bound to be some cheap snidiness, but the whole thing is a classic in terms of cast and production.
John McRae, London

We saw Hamlet in its opening weekend. As my favourite Shakespeare play, I have seen many versions, but this has to be the most humorous - to my surprise and delight. Although not as emotionally stirring as some, it is energised and although the eyes were on David Tennant, who did an admirable job, ALL cast members were fantastic, especially Patrick Stewart and Oliver Ford Davies.
Claire, Southampton

Saw one of the preview nights, it was very entertaining, but for the most part I was seeing David Tennant on stage, rather than Hamlet, he has such a strong personal delivery and being well known it is not easy to be convinced you are watching the character in the play and it is easy to lose your focus on the words and meaning of the play. Having seen many Shakespeare productions at the RSC, Globe, Crucible it is always best when the actors are less well known by their film and TV roles and then they become convincing as the character. But Tennant was brilliantly entertaining and livened up the play. All the other actors were excellent and particularly Oliver Ford Davis.
John Gordon, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Mesmerising. Despite being a Dr Who fan, I was doubtful as to whether Tennant could pull off this great role, but all my doubts were dispelled in the first few minutes. Doran and Tennant challenged some of the established interpretations of this play, but the result was fresh without being intimidating, and every audience member, young or old, "Who" fan or not, was enthralled. This deserves to go down in RSC history - easily on a par with Mckellen's Lear.
M Buckley, Warwick

Exceptional and so entertaining. I couldn't believe the three and a half hours went so quickly.
Geoff Bowman, Calne, Wiltshire

I saw the new production of Hamlet at on of the RSC preview evenings. David Tennant was brilliant - and not simply Dr Who playing Shakespeare! He played role with sensitivity, humour and passion. His performance was nothing less than compelling. Patrick Stewart plays an authoritative King (or should that be authoritative Kings!), but he did seem a bit wooden at times, if am honest... Alternative reviews of this are also coming out positive which is great for the RSC. Ophelia seems to be receiving some rather unfair criticism (in my humble opinion)! An unmissable evening for anyone lucky enough to have tickets!
Peter , Redditch, Worcester

David Tennant brought a whole new dimension to Shakespeare's tragic hero. He delivered fear, joy, tears and laughter with a boyish charm reminiscent of his role as the tenth Doctor. The closet scene was delivered with such passion and conveyed so much tragedy allowing Tennant to show his true potential and his love of the stage. He kept the audience captivated at all times with the many dimensions he adopted to convey the mourning princes grief and madness. While his role as the tenth doctor brought in a younger and varied audience Tennant's skill allowed him to move away from that role and fully embrace the role of Hamlet. Overall, David Tennant gave a captivating, spell bounding yet chilling performance of Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark.
Vicki Brand, New Milton, Hampshire

We saw the show in a preview last week and were mesmerised by the performance of the lead actors from start to finish. The simplicity of the stage set belied the obvious complexity of the production. Special mention should be made of Patrick Stewart's stirring dual performance as evil uncle and the foreboding ghost.
Andy McClelland, Worcester

I saw the preview on Sat 26th July and was transfixed by Tennant's Hamlet. I agreed with the article above entirely with the exception of Patrick Stewart, I thought he was wooden and one dimensional, very disappointing having been really looking forward to seeing him. Tennant blew him away with his energy and quirkiness... but then perhaps Stewart planned to be quiet and reserved against Tennant's wackiness. Can't wait to see Love's Labours lost !!!
Leigh Simmonds, Cardiff

I had the pleasure of seeing Hamlet on Saturday day. It was absolutely amazing. Mr T held the stage from the moment he quietly made his entrance. This was my first experience of the RSC, it has really set the blood rushing through the veins and I now what to see more. I think it is wonderful that Mr T is opening up the door for the RSC for all the public to appreciate. The performance, all 3 and a half hours flew by, the sign of an excellent show. If only I could get my hands on a ticket and I would be there again and again. Bravo to all those involved.
Charlotte, Blandford Forum Dorset

I saw this production on the opening weekend and I was very impressed. David Tennant is not traditional in his performance but he is very engaging, and despite its length the play seemed to rush by. All of the other actors were excellent and in particular Mariah Gale's portrayal of Ophelia "gone mad" was quite heart breaking. If people do go to see Hamlet purely because of the Doctor Who star I'm certain they will come away with an enthusiasm for the theatre, and Shakespeare, which I can only consider a good thing.
Terri, Norwich

An energetic performance from David Tennant, with a very clever switch between calm, calculated sanity and madness, albeit in a very Dr Who ilk. The "Frailty, thy name is woman" speech was particularly good. Patrick Stewart's Claudius was a very chilling, quietly simmering one with much more emotion in the chapel than I have ever seen portrayed. Praise too for Penny Downie's Gertrude - spectacular in the closet scene. RSC scenery was absolutely phenomenal - very, very clever. Amazing use of lighting in the first scene.
Kerry Holmes, Bournemouth

I went to see it last Saturday 2nd August & it was absolutely wonderful. I wouldn't hide the fact that the reason I went was to see David Tennant & Patrick Stewart perform, because I am a fan of Doctor Who & Star Trek. However, I have previously been to see Shakespeare at Stratford & I hold an arts degree, so I appreciate good theatre. This IS excellent theatre, all performers are at the top of their game. Tennant is mesmerising in the role & no one can pull off gravitas like Patrick Stewart and the supporting actors were marvellous. Credit goes to Oliver Ford Davies, who brought the house down with every sentence & made his fate, even more painful. I take great issue with Jonathan Miller who accused the RSC of 'stunt casting' well, that may have been a factor, had the cast not already proved themselves at the RSC before Sci-Fi fame. Make it so, go and see it, classic theatre.
Ty Davies, Douglas, Isle of Man

I saw Hamlet in the previews and thought it was just fantastic. It has you hooked very early on. The cast is fabulous and David Tennant a triumph. I love Shakespeare but this production made more a little deeper in love.
Jo Pierce, Hertford

We were lucky enough to see the play on Friday and were captivated. The intimate performances and setting drew the audience in and we were all gripped as the story unfolded. I'm both a Star Trek and Dr Who fan, but this was no "celebs doing Shakespeare" event: Tennant, Stewart and the others were all excellent, and with the understated staging made an emotional connection with the audience. it was a genuinely moving occasion where Shakespeare, not Celebrity, was the star. We feel privileged to have seen the defining Hamlet of our generation.
Peter and Jan, Bristol

Fantastic, David was funny and desperate at times, (but for the right reasons). I really enjoyed it.
Gwilym Jones, Birmingham

We saw Hamlet on Friday evening (1st August). We were both gripped from the start - it's the best production of a Shakespeare play - with the best cast - that I've seen in years! There were incredibly funny and sad moments. David Tennant and Patrick Stewart were fantastic, as were the whole cast. I agree with your comments about Horatio - Peter de Jersey gave the character a real depth and warmth that was very moving at times.
Lesley Burt, Christchurch, Dorset

I saw Hamlet in preview a couple of weeks ago, admittedly Tennant is good but more praise should go to Patrick Stewart who is excellent but I personally thought that Peter de Jersey as Horatio stole the show. His performance was full of passion and feeling.
Andy, Cheltenham

I saw Hamlet on the first Saturday evening. The courtyard Theatre was sold out with queues for ticket returns. This was without doubt the best performance of Shakespeare's masterpiece I have ever seen. What impressed me most was not simply the sparkling charismatic performance of David Tenant as Hamlet, but the intelligence of presentation, the way that the language was used to present the dialogue in a modern fashion. Anyone could watch this particular production and understand the storyline and issues with ease. All credit for a magnificent production to the director and mesmerising cast.
Sue Day, Gloucestershire


SEE ALSO
Review: David Tennant in Hamlet
06 Aug 08 |  Entertainment
Mixed response to Tennant's play
06 Aug 08 |  Entertainment
Hamlet Who?
06 Aug 08 |  Today
Doctor Who signing ban at Hamlet
24 Jul 08 |  Entertainment
Tennant on Who and Hamlet
08 Jun 08 |  Entertainment
David Tennant named 'best Dr Who'
06 Dec 06 |  Entertainment

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