Michael Sheen to join the list of famous Hamlets
I've been catching up with theatre news over at WhatsOnStage.com and came across this story which I'm surprised I missed. It seems Michael Sheen is to take on the Bard's most famous role at the Young Vic.
Now I am a bit of a Hamlet fan and never tire of seeing it performed, having been captivated by the play as a student watching it performed at the Theatre Clwyd in Mold. My favourite performance of recent years has to be David Tennant followed by a surprisingly good Jude Law.
I also have high hopes for Ben Whishaw's interpretation when I see it at the V&A archives on Friday.
Coming up I'm hoping to see John Simm at The Crucible. I've seen Simm on stage a couple of times, first showing off his comic acting skills in the superb Elling and then in the drama Speaking in Tongues, so I know he's good on stage and am really quite excited about what he'll do with the Dane. I predict a quietly angry and brooding Hamlet.
And then I'm sure I'll not be able to resist Rory Kinnear at the National Theatre in the Autumn. I've seen him in a couple of things at the National and he's always been good but the jury is still out on whether he'll pull off Hamlet.
So what about Michael Sheen? First of all I must say I'm excited about it being at the Young Vic and not one of the big old West End theatres. Every time I go to the Young Vic they seem to have the stage in a completely different place which makes for a fresh experience every visit. And it is a small theatre so you can usually see the sweat on the actors' brow wherever you are sitting.
And there is no doubt Sheen is a great actor - he kept me on the edge of my seat throughout Frost/Nixon. But I'm having problems imagining him as the Prince. It is mainly to do with the fact that I've always had a problem with age when it comes to Hamlet and have never been satisfied that the actors I've seen have been young enough to truly capture the part. (Another reason for my excitement about seeing Mr Whishaw.)
Sheen is 41 and although he can look youthful there is going to have to be something very special in his manner that convinces me he isn't a mature student. I think Tenant, who was 37 at the time, managed to pull it off by having a manic energy.
The story says the play is schedule for Winter 2011. I'm hoping that is January/Feb time and not Nov/Dec which is a very long time to wait to find out if Sheen can pull it off.