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Saturday, August 30, 2008

DAVID TRENNERY'S HAMLET REVIEW

Theatre Review (Stratford-on-Avon): Hamlet at the Royal Shakespeare Company

Written by David Trennery
Published August 27, 2008
Part of StageMage

David Tennant is Hamlet. It was tempting to add 'Nuff said' to that first sentence and leave it at that, but Tennant's performance is not the only excellent thing in Gregory Doran's RSC production at the Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-on-Avon.

The opening scene is rendered all the more sinister and supernatural by the reflective surface of the thrust stage and mirrored backdrop: torch beams bounce around the auditorium like World War II searchlights frantically scanning the sky for an unseen but everpresent threat. That threat arrives in the person of Patrick Stewart who plays both Old Hamlet's Ghost and King Claudius.

Stewart is a charismatic Claudius, ruling a very different Denmark from that of his murdered brother. He hardly knows the names of his courtiers, but his immense charm and powerful presence make it unusually easy to see why Gertrude marries him. His handling of Fortinbras and later Laertes is the hallmark of a skilled politician, and even the flamboyant feasts, so hated by Hamlet, seem calculated to accustom the country to the recent regime change.

The production is modern: the costumes are contemporary and there is a pleasing contrast between the beautifully cut court suits and the characters' casual wear. Hamlet is very much a student when not a prince: David Tennant effortlessly sheds 15 of his 37 years in his T-shirt and jeans - although he does have the sense not to belt them around his hips. Guns replace swords for all but the final fight, and the revolving mirrored doors upstage are infinitely preferable to any arras.

Tennant's performance is remarkable in many ways. Hamlet is by no means a sympathetic figure, but Tennant manages to make him so through superlative handling of the soliloquies and the insanity. His grief for his father's loss is completely convincing, and upon it he builds all the doubts and dilemmas which can make the character hard for audiences to endure, successfully negotiating the fine line between Hamlet's 'crafty madness' and his genuine distress. It is also a superb physical performance. Tennant is incredibly agile on stage; moving like a great neurotic skittish spider, he seems to skip his way through the play without ever losing his focus and intensity.

In repertory through November 15 at the RSC.

Oliver Ford Davies is responsible for much of the humour with his rendition of Polonius, although Tennant gets a fair few laughs courtesy of his many fans. Edward Bennett takes Laertes from gauche schoolboy to formidable adversary, and Penny Downie is a relatively youthful and sexy Gertrude. It is perhaps inevitable, with two such famous actors in the cast (Tennant and Stewart), that the production concentrates on the conflict between Claudius and Hamlet to the slight detriment of Mariah Gale's moving Ophelia.

Director Gregory Doran's Hamlet is by no means the full text, and he has moved 'To be or not to be' from where it is in many printed editions. This flexible approach pays a pre-credit-crunch level of dividends. Nothing is omitted that could possibly contribute to either the action or the development of Hamlet's character, and all the company delve deep for meaning in every syllable of verse. Doran brings the play in at 3 hours 30 minutes: it's a long evening but it's anything but dull.

Every time I read about how physical David's performance is along with how he messes up his hair in Hamlet, I can just picture him in the mistletoe varnished study in the Doctor Who episode Tooth and Claw. It's not that he's any more physical in that episode than he is in any other episode. I just picture that particular scene where he's pacing back and forth, talking away and messing with his hair......and I love his hair!

Be sure to visit David Trennery's website. There are a number of London theatre reviews, a column about British Theatre and some short stories. It's a very nice site! Check it out!

DAVID IS IN WHO'S WHO

The United Kingdom's oldest biographical yearbook is 'Who's Who'. A new book is published every year. In more recent years, there is even an online version. David was added to the 159th edition under his birth name, David McDonald, in 2007.

The way I found out about David's inclusion in the book was at TV Now.

Friday, August 29, 2008

BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS ON IFC (8-30-08)

David plays Ginger Littlejohn in the movie 'Bright Young Things'. He's not in very much of it, but it's a pretty good movie. It's on IFC on August 30 at 11AM ET and 5:05PM ET.

DOCTOR WHO ON BBC AMERICA (8-30-08 & 8-31-08 )

  • Saturday, 6PM ET - Smith and Jones
  • Saturday, 7PM ET - The Shakespeare Code
  • Sunday, 1PM ET - Smith and Jones
  • Sunday, 2PM ET - The Shakespeare Code
  • Sunday, 3PM ET - Gridlock

Thursday, August 28, 2008

DOCTOR WHO ON SCI-FI (8-29-08)

Human Nature is on SciFi tomorrow morning at 5AM ET. This episode and The Family of Blood are in my list of absolute favorite episodes.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

DOCTOR WHO MOVIE?

The Tardis may materialise on big screen

THE NEW writer behind Doctor Who has given the broadest hint yet that the cult sci-fi series could be made into a film.

Steven Moffat, who has replaced Swansea-born Russell T Davies as writer of the hit series, told an audience at the Edinburgh International Television Festival that he would be happy to see a big-screen adaptation of the show, provided it did not interfere with the television version.

Moffat is taking over from Davies, who revived Doctor Who in 2005, as the lead writer and executive producer for the fifth series of the show – due to be shown on BBC1 in spring 2010.

Meanwhile Davies will remain in charge of four Doctor Who specials to be shown in 2009.

When asked whether he would like to see the series become a film, Moffat said: “I’m not against it. I don’t think it’s the most important thing for Doctor Who.

“A movie is one 90 minutes a year. So yes, so long as it never gets in the way of the show. If it gets in the way of the show, that’s appalling.

“It’s been in the cinema, with Peter Cushing. It would be good to see it in the cinema so long as it’s great and fantastic.”

During his appearance in Edinburgh, he also revealed Steven Spielberg was a Doctor Who fan and that Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson had one of ex-Doctor Sylvester McCoy’s outfits.

Moffat has already made an impact on Doctor Who, picking up a Best Writer Bafta earlier this year for the series three episode Blink, which featured a terrifying weeping angel.

His previous work included children’s drama Press Gang and sitcom Coupling.

Moffat also promised that David Tennant’s eventual replacement would be another young actor.

“It’s a practical issue. This is a show that’s hard for even the young, super-fit David Tennant to keep up with. It might kill someone over 60,” he said.

Simon Hooper, of Specialists Models and Displays in Cardiff, helped the new wave of Doctor Who get off the ground.

Last night he welcomed the movie plans.

“We have provided Daleks and components for the Tardis in the past and I think a one-off move to the big screen would be amazing.

“It would take Doctor Who to the next level – the show has a worldwide appeal so should be very successful.

“I think David Tenant is an excellent Doctor Who is perfect for the part because he is eccentric and a nice guy too.”

The first feature-length episode, called Doctor Who and the Daleks was filmed in 1965 at Shepperton Studios, London and starred Peter Cushing, who travelled in his TARDIS to the Planet Skaro to battle the Daleks.

The next installment came the following year with Daleks Invasion Earth 2150AD, in which Cushing was joined by Bernard Cribbins, who played the grandfather of Donna (Catherine Tate) in the latest series .

A third Dalek film, to be based on the serial The Chase, was planned but never produced due to its predecessor’s underperformance at the box office.


I would love to see a movie....hopefully, with David!

I notice Steven Moffat said 'David Tennant’s eventual replacement'. The word 'eventual' doesn't mean David is leaving after the specials. Maybe the News of the World jumped the gun on saying David won't be in series 5.

Monday, August 25, 2008

GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS ABOUT DOCTOR WHO

Emigrate! Emigrate! Dr's US trip

Two of next year’s four specials to be filmed in America

DOCTOR Who is filming two of next year’s four specials in AMERICA—in a move that will boost David Tennant’s career Stateside.

The shows will be the 37-year-old star’s last, then the Doc will regenerate into another actor.

Viewers will see David arrive in the US to save the world with a BIG-NAME American female assistant.

Series chiefs are also planning a Doctor Who movie—but it is not known who will be the lead.

A BBC source said: “Doctor Who already has a huge following in the States. It’s on the Sci Fi channel and is watched by millions of people there every week.

“But two specials in America, with a US setting and a US assistant, will take it to another level. David Tennant is already gaining a huge following and this will make him really hot property.” The four specials will also be the final episodes for show boss Russell T Davies.

He is handing the reins to producer Stephen Moffat for the next series, in 2010. The insider added: “Russell is determined to go out with a bang and the specials will be explosive.

“We’re spending much more money on them than normal.”

Moffat is working on a Doctor Who film—and would love to get legendary director Steven Spielberg involved.

He said: “It would be great to see it in the cinemas—as long as it doesn’t get in the way of the show.”


This makes me happy and sad at the same time. It will be great for David's American fans to see him here, but I don't want to see him go after the specials. It would be great if David would end up staying in America for awhile, but I'm getting a bit too hopeful.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

DOCTOR WHO ON BBC AMERICA (8-23-08 & 8-24-08 )

  • Saturday, 6PM ET - The Runaway Bride
  • Saturday, 7PM ET - Smith and Jones
  • Sunday, 1PM ET - The Runaway Bride

Thursday, August 21, 2008

DOCTOR WHO ON SCI-FI (8-22-08)

At 5AM ET, SciFi is showing '42'. The first thing I always think of when I see this listed is, 'Burn with me Martha.'

Monday, August 18, 2008

INFORMATION ABOUT HAMLET AT LONDON'S NOVELLO THEATRE

Shakespeare's great tragedy of a young man haunted by his father's ghost and driven to the edge of madness in his obsession to avenge his death.

David Tennant returns to the RSC to play the title role, directed by RSC Chief Associate Director Gregory Doran.

David last appeared with the RSC as Romeo in Romeo and Juliet and Antipholus of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors in 2000. As well as acting extensively on the stage, most recently in The Pillowman at the National Theatre, David has become a household name as the tenth actor to portray Dr Who.

His other TV and film role include Casanova, Blackpool, Bright Young Things and Barty Crouch Jr in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Patrick Stewart returns to the RSC to play Claudius. He last appeared with the Company to great acclaim during the Complete Works Festival as Antony in Antony and Cleopatra and Prospero in The Tempest.

Dates:
Tickets on sale : September 12th 2008
Previews from December 3rd 2008
Limited engagement until January 10th 2009

Cast:
David Tenant as Hamlet
Patrick Stewart as Claudius
Pennie Downie as Gertrude
Oliver Ford Davies as Polonius

Creative:
Directed by Gregory Doran
Written by William Shakespeare
Designer, Robert Jones
Lighting, Tim Mitchell
Music, Paul Englishby
Sound, Jeremy Dunn assisted by Martin Slavin
Movement Director, Michael Ashcroft
Fight Director, Terry King

Audience: Hamlet is suitable for audiences aged 12 and upwards.

Run time: tba

Show Times: tba

There are links to buy tickets and to view the seating chart at the Novello Theatre site.

All the RSC members are having their chance at buying tickets now. I'll bet it will be nearly impossible to get tickets by September 12.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A PROFILE OF DAVID

Profile: David Tennant

From The Sunday Times
August 10, 2008

Intergalactic self-belief has propelled this son of the manse to acclaim as Doctor Who and now as the Bard’s tragic prince

It was a role that David Tennant regarded as the summit of his acting ambition. Nothing quite compared with the emotionally scarred and lonely protagonist of this eternal tragedy, he declared. Surpassing all his distinguished predecessors, Tennant duly triumphed in the part of . . . Doctor Who. So swanning off to play Hamlet at the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has seemed like a betrayal to some fans.

Judging by last week’s reviews, the 37-year-old Scot has been gloriously reincarnated as Denmark’s sweet prince. Benedict Nightingale of The Times confessed he was “riveted”. “Extremely captivating”, wrote Paul Taylor of The Independent. In today’s Sunday Times Christopher Hart praises “one of the most purely entertaining Hamlets I have ever seen”.

Tennant’s achievement in winning laurels for his modern-dress Hamlet of quicksilver intelligence and humour was all the greater for transcending the hoopla around his celebrity. Screaming girls who stormed the RSC’s Courtyard Theatre in Stratford to confront the stunned star were only the advance guard of audiences clutching the summer’s hottest ticket. They were changing hands for hundreds of pounds on eBay, to the RSC’s dismay.

The prospect of Doctor Who doing battle with Patrick Stewart, better known as Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise, and now metamorphosed into the evil King Claud-ius, was too much for some. Jonathan Miller, the director, recently attacked the English theatre’s “obsession with celebrity”, dismissing Tennant as “the man from Doctor Who”.

This suggested that Tennant’s acquaintance with Shakespeare was limited to the Doctor Who episode in which the Bard appeared - along with Dickens - as a swashbuckling Renaissance hipster given to soundbites. Whereas Tennant is an RSC veteran who cut his teeth on As You Like It, The Comedy of Errors and Romeo and Juliet (some thought Miller’s charge a bit rich coming from a man who gave Joanna Lumley, of Absolutely Fabulous, the lead in his Sheffield revival of The Cherry Orchard last year).

Besides, Tennant believes that Doctor Who, whom he dreamt of playing since early childhood, is no lightweight figure: “The Doctor is scarred by losing his race. He can’t seem to hold on to anyone. He is entirely alone. Even with the ones who do stick with him. He is, to all intents and purposes, eternal. That’s his tragedy.”

Typically, Tennant’s reaction to the “Doctor Who Hamlet” mania has been to keep his head down. “It’s too easy to become defined by your press cuttings,” he said once. “I’m much happier going on a radio show and talking nonsense for 20 minutes. I am an actor, after all.”

In rare interviews he alternates between guardedness about his private life and hyperactive quick-fire chat. Boyish and thin, he exudes a student air, sometimes enhancing his owlish gaze with spectacles. A Labour supporter, he quietly backs worthy causes, not wanting to “sound off about anything I don’t know enough about”. He recently swapped his Skoda for a hybrid car.

The tabloids think that he has much to be private about. Voted the sexiest male character on television in a recent poll, he has been linked with a string of women including the pop star Kylie Minogue, who appeared in a Doctor Who Christmas special, and two production staff on the series. Among the actresses listed among his previous girlfriends are Anne-Marie Duff, Keira Malik and Sophia Myles, who appeared as Madame de Pompadour in a Doctor Who episode.

One of his oldest friends is Arabella Weir, the actress and comic writer, who first met him in 1993 during a Glasgow play in which he depicted a bipolar teenager. “He was 22 and had only just started acting, yet his confidence and determination were extraordinary,” Weir wrote in The Sunday Times earlier this year. Soon after, he moved to London, where he rented a room in Weir’s house for five years and became godfather to one of her children.

Steeliness and “unshakable self-belief” help to explain Tennant’s success and popularity with directors, Weir believes. There is also his charisma: “Often, when we go out together, large groups of women will visibly go weak at the knees.” Yet in the early days his flamboyant clothes led many to think that he was gay, an assumption that left him unbothered. “Why would it?” he countered.

Any such doubts were dispelled in 2005 when Tennant romped home in Casanova, the BBC series. Lacking the chiselled features and physicality of previous seducers, he reinvented the character as a puppyish enthusiast who laughed his women into bed. Although billed as a “sizzling bonkfest”, there was not much nudity, which did not stop the tabloids from teasing out the contrasts between Tennant’s religious upbringing and his bed-hopping on screen. To his mortification, his parents would invite doorstepping news hounds into their home for a cup of tea.

He was born David McDonald on April 18, 1971, the youngest of three children raised in a Renfrewshire manse. Later, learning of another actor of the same name listed with Equity, he adopted the surname of Neil Tennant, his favourite Pet Shop Boy. His father, Alexander, was a minister and later moderator in the Church of Scotland, although in a liberal tradition. He has a brother, Blair, and a sister, Karen. His mother, Helen, died of cancer last year.

Attending church services and Sunday school were routine, but it would be a mistake to “assume that growing up in a manse must be a puritanical existence”, he said.

His epiphany came at the age of three, when he realised that he wanted to become the actor who played Doctor Who. The extent of this fixation was revealed in his essay Intergalactic Overdose, written at 14: “I was a junkie, a Doctor Who junkie. Every Saturday evening at 5.35 I could not be disturbed. Any noise or distinctive movement would be met with the wrath of a furious nine-year-old. I was worshipping at the shrine.”

He missed only one episode of the series in nine years, when to his fury he was dragged away on a family visit: “I didn’t say a word to anyone apart from my Doctor Who doll.” His pocket money went on plastic monsters and 200 Doctor Who books. Relatives were kept busy knitting him the Doctor’s long, multi-coloured scarves. The essay was kept by Moira Robertson, his English teacher at Paisley grammar school, who recalled: “He was a very bright boy, quick and witty. He was an accomplished actor from early on.”

His parents tried to steer him towards a more secure career but he “never once wavered” from his chosen path. At 17 he left home and enrolled as the youngest student at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, where Emma Fielding and Greg Wise were classmates. His first job was in Brecht’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, with the socialist 7:84 Theatre Company, touring the Highlands and Islands in a minibus.

Parts did not come easily. He auditioned unsuccessfully 16 times for Taggart, the television series: “I’m the only Scottish actor alive who hasn’t been in Taggart.” His luck changed with another Scottish television series, the black comedy Takin’ Over the Asylum. He became a regular at the RSC, mostly in comedy roles: “You feel the weight of history there and it’s scary.” Parts at the National Theatre, an Olivier nomination for his role in Lobby Hero at the Donmar Warehouse and television roles slowly led to recognition on the street.

Casanova turned out to be the unlikely rehearsal for Doctor Who. Russell T Davies, the producer and scriptwriter, was working on Casanova and looking for an actor to replace Christopher Eccleston, the Doctor’s ninth incarnation. “[Tennant] came to mind straight away,” he said. “We’d established that we were both fans . . . and he seemed the obvious choice. I think David brings to it a fantastic sense of humour – he can find lightness even in the darkest of scenes.”

After intense speculation about Tennant’s future as Doctor Who, it seems that because of his RSC commitments there will be no series next year, but he has signed up for four specials. No actors have been signed up for the fifth series to be broadcast in 2010.

To be or not to be? “It’s a very exciting time, doing some unique things,” he said last year. “That won’t be there for ever, I know that.”

Click on the link above and you can read the reactions to this article in the HAVE YOUR SAY section at the bottom of the page.

I wonder if he still has the Doctor Who doll, plastic monsters and 200 Doctor Who books.

MICHEAL BILLINGTON'S HAMLET REVIEW

Hamlet
Courtyard, Stratford-upon-Avon

Micheal Billington
The Guardian, Wednesday August 6 2008
_____________________________________

The following correction was printed in the Guardian's Corrections and clarifications column, Thursday August 7 2008

Several readers have complained that in the review of the RSC's Hamlet, below, Michael Billington quoted the prince's opening soliloquy as saying: "O that this too too sullied flesh would melt." "Sullied", they objected, should have been "solid". In fact there are three respected versions of this text. In the first quarto: "O that this too much grieu'd and sallied flesh / Would melt to nothing"; In the second quarto: "O that this too too sallied flesh would melt, / Thaw and resolue itselfe into a dewe,"; and in the first folio: "Oh that this too too solid Flesh, would melt, / Thaw, and resolue it self into a Dew". "Sallied" nowadays is usually given as "sullied". No version is more decisively authentic than the others. Michael Billington could not discern which one Tennant was using.
_____________________________________

It's a sign of our star-crazy culture that there has been months of speculation about David Tennant's Hamlet. The big news from Stratford is that Gregory Doran's production is one of the most richly textured, best-acted versions of the play we have seen in years. And Tennant, as anyone familiar with his earlier work with the RSC would expect, has no difficulty in making the transition from the BBC's Time Lord to a man who could be bounded in a nutshell and count himself a king of infinite space. He is a fine Hamlet whose virtues, and occasional vices, are inseparable from the production itself.

Doran's production gets off, literally, to a riveting start: the first thing we hear is the sound of hammering and drilling as Denmark's night-working Niebelungen prepare the country for war. And our first glimpse of the chandeliered, mirrored, modern-dress court gives us an instant clue to Hamlet's alienation. Patrick Stewart's superb Claudius insultingly addresses Laertes's problems before those of Hamlet. And, urging Hamlet not to return to university, Stewart has to be publicly reminded that Wittenberg is the place in question. Immediately we sense Claudius's hostile suspicion towards, and cold contempt for, his moody nephew.

Tennant's performance, in short, emerges from a detailed framework. And there is a tremendous shock in seeing how the lean, dark-suited figure of the opening scene dissolves into grief the second he is left alone: instead of rattling off "O that this too too sullied flesh would melt", Tennant gives the impression that the words have to be wrung from his prostrate frame. Paradoxically, his Hamlet is quickened back to life only by the Ghost; and the overwhelming impression is of a man who, in putting on an "antic disposition", reveals his true, nervously excitable, mercurial self.

This is a Hamlet of quicksilver intelligence, mimetic vigour and wild humour: one of the funniest I've ever seen. He parodies everyone he talks to, from the prattling Polonius to the verbally ornate Osric. After the play scene, he careers around the court sporting a crown at a tipsy angle. Yet, under the mad capriciousness, Tennant implies a filial rage and impetuous danger: the first half ends with Tennant poised with a dagger over the praying Claudius, crying: "And now I'll do it." Newcomers to the play might well believe he will.

Tennant is an active, athletic, immensely engaging Hamlet. If there is any quality I miss, it is the character's philosophical nature, and here he is not helped by the production. Following the First Quarto, Doran places "To be or not to be" before rather than after the arrival of the players: perfectly logical, except that there is something magnificently wayward about the Folio sequence in which Hamlet, having decided to test Claudius's guilt, launches into an unexpected meditation on human existence.

Unforgivably, Doran also cuts the lines where Hamlet says to Horatio, "Since no man knows of aught he leaves, what is't to leave betimes? Let be." Thus Tennant loses some of the most beautiful lines in all literature about acceptance of one's fate.

But this is an exciting performance that in no way overshadows those around it. Stewart's Claudius is a supremely composed, calculating killer: at the end of the play scene, instead of indulging in the usual hysterical panic, he simply strides over to Hamlet and pityingly shakes his head as if to say "you've blown it now". Oliver Ford Davies's brilliant Polonius is both a sycophantic politician and a comic pedant who feels the need to define and qualify every word he says: a quality he, oddly enough, shares with Hamlet. And I can scarcely remember a better Ophelia than that of Mariah Gale, whose mad-scenes carry a potent sense of danger, and whose skin is as badly scarred by the flowers she has gathered, as her divided mind is by emotional turmoil.

That is typical of a production that bursts with inventive detail. I love the idea that Edward Bennett's Laertes, having lectured Ophelia about her chastity, is shown to have a packet of condoms in his luggage. And the sense that this is a play about, among much else, ruptured families is confirmed when Stewart as the Ghost of Hamlet's father seeks, in the closet scene, tenderly to console Penny Downie's plausibly desolate Gertrude.

Audiences may flock to this production to see the transmogrification of Dr Who into a wild and witty Hamlet. What they will discover is a rich realisation of the greatest of poetic tragedies.

I don't care whether it's sullied, sallied or solid as long as it's David Tennant.

Friday, August 15, 2008

DOCTOR WHO ON BBC AMERICA (8-16-08 & 8-17-08 )

  • Saturday, 6PM ET - Doomsday
  • Saturday, 7PM ET - The Runaway Bride
  • Sunday, 1PM ET - Doomsday
  • Sunday, 2PM ET - The Runaway Bride
The Runaway Bride has been cut down so it will fit into an hour. I remember the first time it was shown on SciFi it was on for 1-1/2 hours. I don't think it will ever be seen in it's entirety on American TV again. Best to watch it on the DVDs.

THE DAVID TENNANT EFFECT

Tourism has increased at Stratford-upon-Avon. It seems that David's Hamlet has had a very positive influence on the Warwickshire birthplace of William Shakespeare. In fact, it is being called the 'David Tennant effect' in Sarah Portlock's article titled 'Tennant' effect hits Stratford.

I've always wanted to go to the UK, and this year the David Tennant effect is making it more desirable than ever. I'd not only have a great time seeing Hamlet and Love's Labour's Lost, but I'd also have fun taking in all there is to see at Shakespeare's birthplace.

I wish I could afford it. :-(

Thursday, August 14, 2008

DOCTOR WHO ON SCI-FI (8-15-08)

The only Doctor Who episode is The Lazarus Experiment at 5AM ET.

I can hardly believe there won't be a new Doctor Who until Christmas. That leaves us with only reruns to watch. That's OK though. It's always great to re-watch anything David is in.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

DAVID IS THE GREENEST STAR ON THE PLANET

David Tennant Is Greenest Star

Doctor Who actor David Tennant has been named the Greenest Star on the Planet.

Tennant won the title after receiving the most votes out of the top ten celebrities in Playhouse Disney's Playing for the Planet Awards.

Families across the UK voted online choosing the Time Lord as their favourite eco-friendly star in the shortlist which included Sienna Miller, Lily Allen, Lily Cole, Stella McCartney, Madonna and Johnny Depp. Star couple Gwyneth Paltrow and husband Chris Martin earned a joint nomination.

Tennant - who is currently appearing in Hamlet with The Royal Shakespeare Company - drives a hybrid car and actively encourages everyone around him to get involved and save the planet as his alter ego The Doctor would do.

Peter Duncan, awards judge and ambassador said: "I am delighted that David Tennant has won the Greenest Star award - he's a great role model for kids everywhere and clearly is as passionate at saving the planet as his character 'The Doctor'.

"As we enter the final judging stage for the rest of the categories, I'm looking forward to seeing some fantastic entries from eco-heroes all over the country."

The Playing for The Planet campaign launched last year to help pave the way for a whole new generation of pre-school kids to grow up green.

I've noticed he seems to be very concerned about the environment. What a nice honor for him.

THIS IS LONDON'S HAMLET REVIEW

Here's a prince for our time
By Nicholas de Jongh, Evening Standard 06.08.08

Having travelled through the starry outer-spaces of Dr Who, David Tennant comes hurtling back to earth. He arrives as an authentic Hamlet for today in a spectacular production by Gregory Doran that boasts period trappings and the modern accoutrements of dinner jackets, golden chandeliers and cocktails: a combination of rapiers, revolvers and good old poison do the fatal damage, while condoms slip out of Laertes's suitcase. Although this Prince of Denmark will not make the angels weep, Tennant still achieves something sensational and never managed in the past 40 years.

He unlocks the key to the mystery of Hamlet and offers a convincing explanation for the prince's famous delay in avenging his father's murder. Tennant's explanation is lifted from psychiatry's realm. We have seen the odd Hamlet in a nervous breakdown's grip and even Hamlets turned temporarily mad. Tennant, though, justifies the Prince's turbulent behaviour afresh.

His humorous Hamlet emerges as an undiagnosed manic depressive, whose mood swings render him temperamentally incapable of fulfilling a revenge scenario. The prince's extreme costume changes - from smart suit to jeans and T-shirt, shoeless and sockless excitement in the players' scene - mark shifts in the manic-depressive cycle. When he returns from England he has scarcely matured and wears the woolly hat and scarf of the eternal student.

I was dazzled and excited by this concept, but never enthralled by it in the way I was by the great Hamlets of Mark Rylance, Simon Russell Beale and Ben Whishaw. Tennant elegantly goes through all the motions without being caught up in them. He makes fine, mocking, imitative fun of Oliver Ford Davies's suspicious, smugly opinionated Polonius, sometimes adrift on senility's stream of subconsciousness. After the revelatory play scene, wearing a little crown of his own and pinioned to a swivel chair, he turns wildly exultant, exits with an exuberant "whee" to England.

Did my ears, though, deceive me, or as Tennant breaks down, grief-struck and bent double in his first soliloquy, does he not revealingly refer to his "too too solid" rather than the now generally accepted "sullied" flesh? For there remains something disconcertingly solid and invulnerable about his prince, even when facing Patrick Stewart's unspooky ghost, a role Stewart doubles with a fascinating, original Claudius. Playing him as a cool, inscrutable and sinister fixer, who forgets the name of Hamlet's university, Stewart's monarch betrays no guilt and virtually commits suicide in the final debacle.

Tennant, then, wears his melancholia, grief and anger as if they were accessories rather than elemental feelings. Just once, when he clings to Gertrude's waist in the closet scene, like a little boy lost, did he generate serious emotion. It is Mariah Gale's superb Ophelia, dancing half-naked, flourishing a vast bunch of flowers, who pierces the heart.

Doran's production, with odd cuts and textual rearrangements, lacks sufficient sense of Denmark under threat of war. Fortinbras never poses a big threat - remaining wordless when finally arriving to seize the kingdom. Robert Jones's imposing design with its tall, mirrored doors, whose glass splinters and cracks when Hamlet shoots Polonius, conveys no idea of a court society beset by spying and surveillance. Penny Downie's disengaged Gertrude just cannot keep her hands, eyes or lips on this Claudius. By the time it reaches London I hope Tennant can endow his historic Hamlet with what it crucially misses - a heart.

It's not one of the most sparkling reviews of David's performance, but at least Nicholas de Jongh doesn't say David is horrible.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

DAWN'S HAMLET EXPERIENCE

There's a good discussion about David going on in my summer of David Tennant and 'Hamlet' at the FlickFilosopher. Dawn posted a comment about her wonderful time seeing Hamlet. Be sure to read it!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

ANOTHER DAVID AND GEORGIA MOFFETT PICTURE

Here's another picture of David and Georgia Moffett from when they went out to Catherine Tate's play.


HAMLET DESCRIBED IN DETAIL

Duncan Lynskey has written a wonderfully detailed account and review of Hamlet from when he saw it on August 2. It's rather long, but it's the closest I'm ever going to get to seeing it myself.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

DAVID'S AUTOGRAPHED PHOTOS BOOST HEADWAY ESSEX CONTRIBUTIONS

Colchester: Dr Who photos prove a hit

2:48pm Friday 8th August 2008
By Clare Jeffs »

SIGNED photos of Dr Who actor and Headway Essex patron David Tennant are disappearing as fast as a dematerialising Tardis.

Earlier this year, the star of BBC1’s hit programme autographed 1,000 picture cards of himself to help raise money for the Colchester-based charity.

The cards been transported to the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Dubai, Japan and South Korea, as well as Europe.

So far, with just a few left to sell, he has helped boost the charity’s coffers by more than £21,000.

Every penny will help fund the care and support of brain injury survivors, their families and carers.

Fundraising and marketing director Joanna Wright said: “It has been a fantastic and fun fundraising venture and David has been such a good sport in signing all those cards.

“We have chatted to so many people from all over the world and have had some great emails from his fans who have been so excited to get his signature in a card.

“We are still waiting for some intergalactic enquiries, but haven’t had one yet.”

n In return for a donation - £20 is suggested plus £1 postage - you can get a signed photo of David Tennant by dropping in at 58b Head Street, Colchester or by downloading an application form at headwayessex.org.uk

If you want an autographed photo be sure to send for one before they run out.

DAVID BALDWIN'S HAMLET REVIEW

David Tennant thrills in Hamlet
by DAVID BALDWIN - Wednesday, August 6, 2008

At the time of writing, if you want to pick up a good pair of seats for this sold out production of Hamlet on eBay, you'll have to shell out about £500.

It's not something the RSC is happy about, but no matter how often the company tries to distract from the issue, with Tennant unavailable for interview and Doctor Who deleted from his CV in the programme, this is very much the David Tennant show.

Of course, there's far more to this Hamlet than just a star turn. The rest of the cast is made up of such accomplished performers as Patrick Stewart and Oliver Ford Davies, whose amusing Polonius mumbles away in his own little world.

Similarly, director Gregory Doran includes some nice touches, the first scene featuring actors' faces lit only by large torch beams bouncing off the mirrored floor.

He also seems to have a thing for grotesque drag, with a creepy dumb show wherein Hamlet tries to catch out his murderous father-in-law Claudius, featuring a gurning male queen and some hugely unsubtle rumpy-pumpy.

But what about Tennant? Well, remove the huge weight of expectation his fame gives this performance, and there's no denying that he's very good.

In his more manic phases, he energetically zips around the stage, light-footed, wide-eyed and occasionally doing silly voices. What Tennant doesn't really bring to the role is any weight; there's no sense of righteous anger here, no earth-shattering grief.

That doesn't make this a bad performance though, merely a different interpretation of the role. Doran seems to have understood what would suit Tennant best and gone with that, which pays dividends.

This is unlikely to be remembered as a legendary performance, but who said it would? It's not a Hamlet for the ages, but rather one for the here and now.

Until Nov 15, The Courtyard Theatre, Waterside, Stratford-upon-Avon, this week: tomorrow 7.15pm, mat Sat 1pm, £5 to £38, concs available, sold out, returns only. Tel: 0844 800 1110. www.rsc.org.uk
All in all, David has had some great reviews.

HOPING THIS ISN'T REALLY TRUE

Who fans drive Tennant out

DOCTOR Who star David Tennant was forced to walk out of co-star Catherine Tate's new play, in London's West End after a group of sci-fi fans began disrupting it, it was reported today.

The Bathgate-born star, 37, was attending a performance of Tate's show Under the Blue Sky, but walked out when fans in the audience started humming the Doctor Who theme tune.
Has anyone read anything else about this? Please tell me this isn't true.

DAVID LISTER'S HAMLET COMMENTS

David Lister: RSC's Tennant triumph

Saturday, 9 August 2008

David Tennant has triumphed as Hamlet this week. OK, the universally good reviews (see Performance Notes below) are of the "very, very good if not quite great" variety. But great Hamlets don't come along that often. And Tennant's debut in the role with the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford-upon-Avon has clearly knocked both critics and audiences sideways, helped by a production that has also received rave notices.

What struck a number of critics was an unusual sight in the audience: teenagers and even younger children watching the three-and-a-half hour play with rapt attention. Children are not of themselves an unusual sight at Stratford, but usually they are less than rapt and asking when the interval is.

These children and teenagers, fans of Tennant as Doctor Who on TV, had clearly made the running, asking their parents to take them or buying tickets for themselves. And they loved what they saw. This piece of celebrity casting may have paid real dividends in turning a new audience on to Shakespeare in particular, and the theatre in general. And, yes, I know that it is strictly speaking unfair to David Tennant to talk of celebrity casting.

He is a tried and tested actor and was with the RSC before becoming a television star. But let's be honest. It's pretty unlikely that the RSC would have suddenly plucked him out of the ranks of the country's actors to play Hamlet if he had not acquired a national reputation as Doctor Who. TV stardom played a big part in this casting decision. These decisions can be slightly trickier than they seem. They don't always guarantee the packed houses that Tennant's Hamlet has achieved. In 1995, just after the BBC's massively popular Pride and Prejudice, the RSC brought the screen's Elizabeth Bennet, that fine actress Jennifer Ehle, also RSC-trained, back to Stratford to star in John Vanbrugh's Restoration comedy The Relapse. It most certainly did not sell out.

But Tennant and his massive TV fan base have done the trick. So where does that leave those of us who have always been undecided about "celebrity casting", if one can use that term also to cover those much better know for TV and film than theatre work?

I think it leaves us having to reconsider. It might be tough on other actors who have been solidly working their way up the ranks of the RSC to see Tennant drafted in for the most famous role in the English language. Not only has he done it well, but he has also managed to bring in and transfix a new, young audience.

Sir Peter Hall, the founder of the RSC, once said that he had hit upon three words to please pretty well everybody – royal, Shakespeare and company. I'd say that now the three most sacred words in the theatre are new, young and audience.

One only has to look round the auditorium at any theatre in Britain at the moment to see the desperate need to interest a younger audience in the art form. Drafting in Hollywood stars, with limited acting ability, for one "novelty" production achieves little. But a TV star, who happens to be a fine actor and has a young fan base, is not a bad way of finding that audience.

The rapt young audience at Stratford is likely to try another play, and another Shakespeare play. It was engrossed not just by Tennant but by the story of Hamlet and the excitement of seeing it on stage rather than reading it in a classroom. The RSC has found the way to renew its audience. I doubt that there will be any turning back.


It's so fantastic to read that the younger people are watching the play with such rapt attention.

DOCTOR WHO ON BBC AMERICA (8-9-08 & 8-10-08 )

  • Saturday, 6PM ET - Fear Her
  • Saturday, 7PM ET - Army of Ghosts
  • Saturday, 8PM ET - Doomsday
  • Saturday, 11PM ET - Doomsday
  • Sunday, 2AM ET - Doomsday
  • Sunday, 1PM ET - Army of Ghosts
Sci Fi Channel just showed these yesterday.

Friday, August 8, 2008

DAVID AND GEORGIA MOFFETT GO TO THE THEATER

Doctor Love: David Tennant enjoys a romantic night out with co-star girlfriend

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 8:50 AM on 08th August 2008

Just two nights after debuting in the title role of a new production of Hamlet, David Tennant was back at the theatre.

But this time the actor wasn't treading the boards.

Instead, Tennant and his Doctor Who co-star and girlfriend Georgia Moffett were lending moral support to another star of the hit TV show, Catherine Tate, appearing in play Under The Blue Sky.

Love lord: David Tennant leaves a West End theatre
with his girlfriend Georgia Moffett

When the private couple left the Duke Of York's Theatre in the West End district of London they made a mad dash for a taxi.

They has been dating for the last couple of months.

Miss Moffett, a 23-year-old single mother, is the fourth Doctor Who colleague Tennant has romanced. Bizarely, she plays his onscreen daughter on the show.

Weeks earlier, he split with another BBC Wales staff member, Bethan Britton, after a four-month relationship.

When the pair met she had been working in the corporation's contracts office in the city.

Searching for a taxi:The couple
leaves the Duke of York theatre

He was also linked to Kylie Minogue after the pop star appeared in Doctor Who's Christmas special, in which they passionately kissed.

Last October, Tennant parted ways with actress Sophia Myles after a two-year relationship, following her move to Hollywood.

They, too, met on set - when Miss Myles played Madame de Pompadour in a 2006 Dr Who episode.

Miss Moffett played the Time Lord's child Jenny in episode six of the most recent series entitled The Doctor's Daughter and while it was a one-off appearance, the opportunity for her to return in later shows has been left open.

The actress, who has a six-year-old son named Tyler from a previous relationship, revealed after first meeting Tennant: 'David is dishy, isn't he?

'He's not only a good-looking but he is such a lovely, sweet guy.'

Mr Tennant has been nursing his personal heartache after his mother Helen died after a five-year battle with cancer last summer.

I remember the pictures of when David was dating Sophia Myles. He and Sophia would have their arms around one another and look at one another like they really were a couple. I don't see this with David and Georgia. I wonder if there really is anything going on other than friendship. Or, is it that they are trying to downplay their relationship???

THE TIMES HAMLET REVIEW

Dr Who's David Tennant as Hamlet at the Courtyard, Stratford

August 6, 2008


When David Tennant plays Doctor Who he relies on one expression. His eyes become bulging marbles, his teeth turn into big white tombstones and his forehead slightly puckers, giving the impression that he hopes to repulse uppity Daleks and other outer-space jetsam with no more than aghast looks, incisors and a wrinkle. But Gregory Doran’s fluent, pacey, modern-dress revival of Hamlet gives Tennant the chance to show the world that he has the range to tackle the most demanding classical role of all – and, praise be, he seizes it.

I’ve seen bolder Hamlets and more moving Hamlets, but few who kept me so riveted throughout. Even when Tennant boggles in wonder at his father’s ghost or dismay at his incestuous mother, his eyes, teeth and steep, furrowed brow don’t do all the acting. Indeed, the first surprise is the intensity of his mourning. He stands there in his black suit and tie, impervious to the champagne drinkers partying beneath their crystal chandeliers, and then, left alone, he twists, half-collapses, crouches, squeals and screeches in an agony of grief, rage and disgust. And then comes the second, concomitant surprise.

We’ve already met Patrick Stewart’s Claudius, a smiling, slippery King who exudes a geniality that, thanks to his sly glances and evident distaste for Hamlet, we know to be spurious. And now we meet his dead brother, who is also Patrick Stewart, but a very different Patrick Stewart. This scarily corporeal ghost circles Tennant’s Hamlet, who has sunk to his knees, and roars out his demands like some monstrous dictator or aggrieved ogre. Even after he’s grimly exited the stage he dominates it, turning his cries of “remember me” and “swear” into ferocious orders, the latter making the theatre quake and shake as much as his former subjects.

This leaves you wondering if Hamlet’s father really was a more appealing ruler than his usurping brother. More importantly, it gives added urgency to the oldest Hamlet question of all.

Why does the Prince delay the revenge that he has promised this paternal powerhouse? That’s something to exercise the amateur shrinks in the audience, who will note that Tennant’s Hamlet ends the closet scene by burying his head in the lap of Penny Downie’s baffled, stricken Gertrude, then gives her a needy, imploring look and kisses her on the lips. Yet, praise again be, Tennant isn’t the sort of reductively Oedipal Hamlet who should ideally be stretched out on Dr Freud’s sofa bed. Nor is he one of those Hamlets who, while faking mad, actually becomes mad or half-mad. True, he skims about the black, shiny stage in jeans and bare feet, alarming the court; but that’s a sane man’s calculated diversion. If there’s a nonpsychiatric explanation for his inaction it’s maybe a more traditional addiction to “the pale cast of thought”.

Tennant is restless, curt and mocking when he needs to be, affectionate when he can be, and, apart from an occasional tendency to gabble, pretty impressive. But most noticably he’s so dreamily reflective that you feel that Claudius’s fatal mistake was refusing him permission to resume his philosophy degree in the safety of faraway Wittenberg. Like Gordon Brown, who came to a preview, this very temporary leader is error-prone.

Doran isn’t a director who goes in for gratuitous oddities, but there are one or two in his production. I liked the transformation of the dumb show that precedes the play-within-the-play into a piece of subversive burlesque, with the Queen played by a blubbery, whooping pantomime dame, but I hated the cut that means we get no explanation of Hamlet’s failure to reach England and no mention of his morally questionable destruction of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

Almost as bad, Fortinbras makes a final appearance as an SAS general flown in from Norway, but remains weirdly mute, saying nothing about Hamlet or anything else. However, there can be no complaint about the supporting performances, least of all Oliver Ford Davies’s Polonius.

Not that the overall woes of the Polonius family are handled with total success. Mariah Gale, a pleasant, obedient young women who wears pedal pushers, doesn’t seem much in love with Hamlet. Nor does she display the feelings for her father that would explain her madness after Hamlet has, in this updated Elsinore, shot him dead. But Polonius himself is another matter. That old politician is usually either canny and tough or he’s an amiably potty family man. Ford Davies solves the dilemma this presents by being both, now intently eyeballing and lecturing Gale’s Ophelia, now drifting off into a senior moment. With him in top form, Stewart demonstrating his versatility, and Tennant definitively quitting his Tardis, this is a revival to relish.


There are a number of comments by people who have seen Hamlet after this review. Click on the above link to read them.

NUMEROUS HAMLET REVIEWS FROM AUDIENCE MEMBERS

Tennant in Hamlet: Your reviews

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

Brilliant........mesmersising......superb.......a force to be reckoned with.........sparkling charismatic performance........I'm so happy reading about how good David is. It doesn't surprise me either. :-D

LISTEN TO A HAMLET REVIEW

Should Doctor Who play Hamlet?

Michael Billington, the theatre critic at the Guardian, and Simon Russell Beale, an RSC actor, talk about this production of Hamlet. Click on the above link to listen to their discussion.

MIXED HAMLET REVIEWS

Mixed response to Tennant's play

Doctor Who star David Tennant has faced the critics at Hamlet's press night in a Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) production in Stratford-upon-Avon.

The 37-year-old's performance has received mixed reviews in newspapers.

The Guardian called Tennant the "best Hamlet in years" while the Daily Express gave the play three stars, describing it as "disappointing".

Patrick Stewart, best known for playing Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek, was lauded as Hamlet's uncle Claudius.

Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail said Tennant was upstaged by a "deliciously subtle" performance from Stewart.

He called Tennant's Hamlet "a sarcastic Hamlet, a selfish Hamlet, a Hamlet very much for our self-indulgent age".

He was "memorable" but "not the greatest Dane" with a "spirited but unripe" rendition, Mr Letts said.

Paul Callan in the Daily Express said Tennant pitched his Hamlet "somewhere between One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and The Goon Show".

He added that Tennant relied too much on "quirkiness, pulling faces and various funny voices" to reflect Hamlet's descent into madness.

But Mr Callan said his "near-whispered delivery is sensitive and polished".

'Engaging' Hamlet

The Independent's Paul Taylor gave the play four stars and called Tennant's display "an extremely captivating performance".

He said the actor was "adept at most aspects of the role but he excels when the prince becomes a prankish provocateur".

He added: "I rate Tennant very highly, but I wouldn't put him in the absolute front rank of contemporary Hamlets."

Michael Billington from The Guardian also awarded four stars to the play.

"He is a fine Hamlet whose virtues, and occasional vices, are inseparable from the production itself," Mr Billington said.

He said this was "a Hamlet of quicksilver intelligence, mimetic vigour and wild humour", adding Tennant was an "active, athletic, immensely engaging Hamlet".

Benedict Nightingale of The Times said the play's "fluent, pacey, modern-dress revival" of Hamlet gave Tennant the chance to shine "and, praise be, he seizes it".

He wrote: "I've seen bolder Hamlets and more moving Hamlets, but few who kept me so riveted throughout.

"Tennant is restless, curt and mocking when he needs to be, affectionate when he can be, and, apart from an occasional tendency to gabble, pretty impressive."

'Flattering'

Tennant drew more than 10 million viewers to the series finale of Doctor Who last month.

He will star in a Christmas special and another three specials next year.

The actor, who played Romeo at the RSC in 2000, has said of appearing in Shakespeare's great tragedy: "Hamlet is often regarded as the acme of acting to test yourself against, which isn't a particularly helpful thought, to be honest.

"Of course, it is very flattering to be asked to do that role because of everything that is attached to it.

"But once you get into rehearsal you have to relinquish thoughts like that and just try and tell the story.

"It's still just a play and you can't start approaching it in a different way than you would approach any other role."

All in all, I'd say the reviews look pretty good. No one seems to think David is absolutely awful.....even if some didn't think he was the greatest Hamlet.

HAMLET REVIEW

Review: David Tennant in Hamlet

By Caroline Briggs
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

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

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) production, staged in Stratford-upon-Avon, takes a modern-day approach to the great Shakespearean tragedy.

It also stars Star Trek actor Patrick Stewart as Claudius, Peter de Jersey as Horatio, Mariah Gale as Ophelia and Pennie Downie as Gertrude.

The production is helmed by RSC chief associate director Gregory Doran.

From the second David Tennant made his entrance as Hamlet in the RSC's latest production, it was clear just who was the star of the show.

Unannounced, almost anonymously, he walked silently to the corner of the stage, and stood forlornly, his hand clasped around a champagne-glass.

But all eyes at the Courtyard Theatre immediately sought out the lanky Scotsman who has endeared himself to millions as the 10th Doctor Who on the cult TV series.

And he was not there to disappoint. He seized the role of the young man haunted by his father's ghost with both hands and ran with it. Literally.

At first he is reserved. His hair is swept back and as stiff as his demeanour as his uncle Claudius marries his mother, Gertrude. Standing under the crystal chandeliers he is seemingly oblivious to the celebrations around him.

But when he crouches to the floor, alone, and gripped by unbearable despair, his grief and rage overwhelm.

Boyish energy

And it's not long before Tennant's more familiar, frenetic acting comes to the fore.

In an early scene where he encounters his father's ghost, some of his expressions - the bulging-eyed fear, the bared teeth and furrowed brow - are reminiscent of the Doctor.

He races about the stage with ease - all lanky limbs and boyish energy - switching seamlessly between sanity, feigned madness and humour.

In many of the scenes Tennant is barefoot, which adds to the intimacy of the play. The costumes too are pared-down and modern.

It is, perhaps, the first time Hamlet has worn a Parka jacket and beanie hat. Tennant carries it off with quirky aplomb.

Tennant also uses his hair to great theatrical effect. From the sleek combed-back style of his first scene, he ruffles it to display despair, rage and madness. It deserves a credit of its very own.

Overall, his performance is undoubtedly mesmerising. What he lacks in emotional intensity, he makes up for with wit, humour and stirring energy.

Tennant is at his best, though, when he allows his full dramatic force to take over. The scene in Gertrude's bedroom when he challenges her on her "incestuous" bed is menacingly powerful.

And he delivers the play's most famous lines without fanfare. They are there, subtle and seamless.

Stewart, too, deserves credit for his understated scary portrayal of Claudius. He is the chilling calm to Tennant's vivacity.

Peter de Jersey's Horatio is wonderfully endearing, Oliver Ford Davies is hilarious as doddery old Polonius, while Mariah Gale's Ophelia has a haunting vulnerability.

But all eyes will undoubtedly remain on Tennant as he continues his run as the Prince of Denmark. It has, perhaps inevitably, become known as the Doctor Who Hamlet.

And while Tennant may not be the best Hamlet the RSC has ever produced, he could soon be a serious challenger for the crown.


Here's a BBC News video of David signing autographs.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

SCI FI CHANNEL DOCTOR WHO MARATHON (8-8-08)

Sci-Fi has a Doctor Who marathon on Friday, August 8 from 8AM ET to 4PM ET, besides the usual 5AM ET broadcast. The line-up is:

  • 5AM ET - Evolution of the Daleks..........Only time I've ever heard a Dalek with a NY accent.
  • 8AM ET - New Earth.........Rose/Cassandra kissin' the Doctor!!!
  • 9AM ET - Tooth and Claw..........The beginnings of Torchwood
  • 10AM ET - School Reunion...........Sarah Jane Smith
  • 11AM ET - The Girl in the Fireplace...........I really love this one!
  • 12PM ET - Love and Monsters..........Great ELO music!
  • 1PM ET - Fear Her.........Remember Chloe's mother as a man/woman in Casanova?
  • 2PM ET - Army of Ghosts.........LOL The Doctor's reaction to Jackie kissing him!
  • 3PM ET - Doomsday............Very, very sad :-(

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

WILL SCI-FI CONTINUE TO SHOW DOCTOR WHO?

What's the future for Sci Fi (and BBC's) Time Lord 'Doctor Who'?

The show's incoming head writer and executive producer Steven Moffat has high hopes for Season 5, but is David Tennant returning? The answer is in a black hole.

By Choire Sicha, Special to The Times
August 2, 2008

Like a grandparent's birthday, the Sci Fi Channel's fourth season finale for "Doctor Who" reeled back in its children.

Characters from the cult hit show's two BBC spinoffs, "Torchwood" and "The Sarah Jane Adventures," pitched in to help the Doctor (well, two-and-a-half Doctors, really! Long story!) save the whole universe from certain doom.

"It created a tremendous buzz when it was shown in Britain," said Steven Moffat, the show's incoming head writer and executive producer who was in Southern California for Comic-Con last week. He credited predecessor Russell T. Davies for the big dramatic splash.

"That was Russell saying, 'What would happen if I press every button at once?' " said Moffat, who came to town with Julie Gardner, the BBC's controller of drama commissioning and an outgoing executive producer of "Doctor Who" as well.

In the age of networks becoming brand-builders, it was also a wily marketing opportunity.

"It's a massive brand, that's what it is," Moffat added. "No use pretending -- it's not art house, it's not even authored, in a way. It's a big massive brand, a BBC brand, the most important show."

But "Doctor Who" will not shoot new episodes for a year and won't return to the BBC until 2010. For the Sci Fi Channel, the scheduling blip raises the possibility it may not seek to reacquire the show. There's always been a perceived gap between how the BBC and Sci Fi program the show -- intended in Britain for families. "The interesting question is where to place it for that family audience," Gardner said. "It does moderately well for the Sci Fi Channel but it transmits for a 9 p.m. slot, which it isn't written or made for."

But Sci Fi officials still want a look at the next season of "Doctor Who."

"Sure, we'll be interested -- definitely interested," said Thomas Vitale, Sci Fi's senior vice president for programming and original movies, who would not comment on what the network paid for the series. "You know what, we're pleased with the way it's been performing for us."

Another lingering question is if David Tennant, who plays the title character, will be returning for Season 5. Gardner confirmed that Tennant has made and given his decision to the BBC. She added that she was not privy to it.

What of Tennant's plans? "Don't waste your time with the question," Moffat said.

If Sci-Fi won't show the specials, I hope BBC America gets the rights to show them. Of course, there are other ways to see Doctor Who. ;-)

Monday, August 4, 2008

NEW HAMLET PICTURES ADDED TO SLIDESHOW

I added 4 new pictures to my slideshow near the top of the page. I love the one where he's laying down with his head on Mariah Gale's lap. That lucky girl!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

VIDEO OF HAMLET CAST


This is the whole cast of Hamlet on stage taking a bow. This was posted at YouTube by VickiVirgo.

I wish the RSC would put this on DVD. They could make a bundle from the sales.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

DAVID SIGNING AUTOGRAPHS AFTER HAMLET


This video was taken July 28, 2008 and is at jessandbecsshow at YouTube.

DOCTOR WHO MARATHON ON BBC AMERICA (8-3-08)

  • 1PM ET - Human Nature
  • 2PM ET - The Family of Blood
  • 3PM ET - Blink
  • 4PM ET - The Sound of Drums
  • 5PM ET - Last of the Time Lords
WTF happened to Utopia? That's part 1 of the 3 part series 3 finale. I just don't understand what BBC America was thinking when they left that out of the lineup.

Friday, August 1, 2008

HAMLET DRESS REHEARSAL PICTURES

I've updated my slideshow near the top of the page with dress rehearsal pictures from Hamlet. These pictures are from the Guardian. There are other pictures at the Telegraph. Some of the Telegraph's pictures are close up versions of what's in my slideshow along with other pictures featuring the other actors.

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