October 22, 2010

The play’s the thing

Last night we drove to Sheffield to see Hamlet. We were almost late because we hit some rush hour traffic and then poor Larry kept missing his turns and ending up farther and farther from the theater. I did my best to stay calm, but the whole time I was worried there would be trouble picking the tickets up from the box office. But we got there eventually and there was no trouble with the tickets and we had plenty of time to get settled in our seats before the play started.

This production of Hamlet was being put on at the Sheffield Crucible, which I’d just like to stop and say is a really lovely theater. I know a lot of people were skeptical about us going to see a play in Sheffield, but we were both very impressed with the theater. I quite liked the set as well. And our seats were very good–third row, a bit off to one side. But the Crucible really doesn’t have “bad” seats.

So, the play. The cast was all excellent. Larry and I both particularly enjoyed Hugh Ross who played Polonius, a part I admit I’d never really given much thought to. I don’t even remember who played him in the last production I saw. But Ross was great! He made Polonius very funny and oddly endearing. But really the whole cast was just terrific. And this Ophelia was waaaaay better than the last one I saw.

Now about John Simm, because I am sure you are curious. John Simm was a fantastic Hamlet. Seriously. FAN-TASTIC. This actually shouldn’t be much of a shock because if there are two things Simm does really well, it is anguished and crazy. He also managed to inject some humor into the role, which was nice. Larry will back me up on this (see quote below), so you can’t just say it is because I like John Simm: The man did a great job. And one of the things I always enjoy about Simm is that I never feel like I am watching a play with John Simm in it–he really disappears into the role, and I will go for long periods watching before I remember that, Oh! Right! That’s John Simm on stage a few feet away from me! I really appreciate that because I feel like sometimes you see someone famous in a play and all you can think the whole time is: Look, it’s that famous guy as Hamlet. When really you should just be thinking: There’s Hamlet. (And for my fellow Simm-fanciers, yes, the fencing scene was as awesome as we’d hoped. Even when crazy and anguished the man is still attractive.) Now some comments from Larry:

“I agree the play was fabulous, and I’m not one who usually enjoys Shakespeare. John Simm and cast somehow managed to incorporate humor into what is otherwise a pretty depressing story. I can see why Sonja likes John Simm, as he is a very good actor.” –Larry

After the play we stayed for a brief talk-back thing with most of the cast, which was fun and also very kind of them to stick around for since it was quite late. They were all very charming and funny.

So there you have it. An excellent play experience. I am so glad we went!

Of course if Stacey asks I will say the play was terrible.

John looking tortured because he can't have me.

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    January 2023
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