It’s flared up again, curse everything.
I was actually lucky enough to SEE David Tennant’s Hamlet in Stratford-upon-Avon – but UNlucky enough to see it three days after I had come back from Australia, meaning I was still in the grip of possibly the worst jet lag of my life. Not ideal circumstances in which to see a three and a half hour Shakespeare play. (I have rarely been so embarrassed – I was sitting very close to the stage, and I kept YAWNING).
I enjoyed his performance – especially his delivery on the “that this too solid flesh would melt” soliloquy – and I thought he made an excellent Hamlet. Having good comic timing is an absolute necessity for that part, and Tennant has it in spades. I can’t say I loved the production though – I’ve seen the actress who played Ophelia in other things, and I know she’s good, but she was not able to overcome the inherent…shallowness of the part – and overall it had that…stately quality that Shakespeare can sometimes have, where it feels like the play is moving very, very slowly.
(For reference, Ruth Negga is the only actress I’ve ever seen who made Ophelia sympathetic – most actress can only manage tolerable, entirely understandably. As for Hamlet’s, Simon Russell Beale is probably my favourite, but chiefly because he played Hamlet in the first REAL Shakespeare production I ever saw, and it was electrifying. Tennant and Michael Sheen were also excellent).
For what it’s worth, I’d LOVE to see David Tennant play Iago, as I think he has a natural charm that would make him utterly terrifying in that part (it’s why he was so good as Kilgrave in Jessica Jones). The problem would be finding an Othello who could match him – in some ways, I think it’s the more difficult part, because Othello can be quite…one-note, in the wrong hands. There is a basic…nobility to Othello’s character which makes him rather difficult to play, particularly because he’s also quite humourless. (I tend to think Othello is a rather misinterpreted play, mind you, as the number of productions I’ve seen which treat Desdemona and Emilia’s relationship as a kind of after thought, when it bears such huge dramatic weight in the climax, is kind of shocking). He might also make a fun Prospero in a few years, for all I’m not terribly fond of The Tempest (it has some of the WORST exposition in all of Shakespeare, and the plot is barely sketched in – all of which I could tolerate and accept – everyone has off days – if it wasn’t accompanied by some of the most beautiful poetry in the canon).
I’ve never been a Doctor Who fan, so I haven’t seen him in the role most people know him for, and I also haven’t watched Broadchurch (because it sounds SO depressing). But I think he’s a reliably…fun presence on screen, which is a valuable trait – and I will always admire actors who make an effort to work on the stage. It is a different skill, but as a general rule, I find that actors who do stage work have more range (they’re also far more skilled at using their VOICE – it’s always very obvious when an actor has mostly done screen work, because the lack of vocal technique and range really jumps out).
I hear he’s going to be in the Good Omens adaptation (I’m assuming as Crawley), so that should be fun.