By Jonathan Croall
Hamlet is arguably the most famous play on the planet, and the greatest of all Shakespeare's works. Its rich story and complex leading role have provoked intense debate and myriad interpretations.
To play such a uniquely multi-faceted character as Hamlet represents the supreme challenge for a young actor. Performing Hamlet contains Jonathan Croall's revealing in-depth interviews with five distinguished actors who have played the Prince this century:
Jude Law: 'You get to speak possibly the most beautiful lines about humankind ever given to an actor.'
Simon Russell Beale: 'Hamlet is a very hospitable role: it will take anything you throw at it.'
David Tennant: 'No other part has been so satisfying. It was tough, but utterly compelling.'
Maxine Peake: 'Hamlet was a way of accessing bits of me as an actress I've not been able to access before.'
Adrian Lester: 'Working with Peter Brook on Hamlet changed me as an actor, and for the better.'
The book benefits from the author's interviews with six leading directors of the play during these years: Greg Doran, Nicholas Hytner, Michael Grandage, John Caird, Sarah Frankcom and Simon Godwin. Many other productions are described, from those starring Michael Redgrave, Alec Guinness and Paul Scofield in the 1950s, to the performances of Benedict Cumberbatch, Andrew Scott and Paapa Essiedu in recent times. The volume also includes an updated text of the author's earlier book Hamlet Observed, and an account of actors' experiences of performing at Elsinore.
Paperback 208 pages