Wednesday 7 December 2016

Benedict Cumberbatch plea to fans; Don't film me on stage as Hamlet, it's mortifying

Sally Wardle

Published 09/08/2015 | 14:24

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch performs in Director Lyndsey Turner's production of Hamlet at the Barbican, in London, August 4, 2015, in this handout picture and released August 8, 2015. REUTERS/Johan Persson/Handout via Reuters
Actor Benedict Cumberbatch performs in Director Lyndsey Turner's production of Hamlet at the Barbican, in London, August 4, 2015, in this handout picture and released August 8, 2015. REUTERS/Johan Persson/Handout via Reuters
Actor Benedict Cumberbatch performs in Director Lyndsey Turner's production of Hamlet at the Barbican, in London, August 4, 2015, in this handout picture and released August 8, 2015. REUTERS/Johan Persson/Handout via Reuters
Actors Benedict Cumberbatch (R) and obna Holdbrook-Smith perform in Director Lyndsey Turner's production of Hamlet at the Barbican, in London, August 4, 2015, in this handout picture and released August 8, 2015. REUTERS/Johan Persson/Handout via Reuters
Undated handout photo of Benedict Cumberbatch as Hamlet in the production of Hamlet at the Barbican centre, London. Cumberbatch has urged fans not to film his performance as Hamlet, describing it as "mortifying". Johan Persson/PA Wire
Actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Anastasia Hille perform in Director Lyndsey Turner's production of Hamlet at the Barbican, in London, August 4, 2015, in this handout picture and released August 8, 2015. REUTERS/Johan Persson/Handout via Reuters
Undated handout photo of Benedict Cumberbatch as Hamlet in the production of Hamlet at the Barbican centre, London. Cumberbatch has urged fans not to film his performance as Hamlet, describing it as "mortifying". Johan Persson/PA Wire
Cumberbatch's run in the title role of Hamlet is the fastest-selling play in British theatrical history

Benedict Cumberbatch has urged fans not to film his performance as Hamlet, describing it as "mortifying".

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The star, who is playing the lead in the fastest-selling play in British history, said there was "nothing less supportive or enjoyable" than being on stage and seeing a "big red light" from an audience member's camera.

Benedict Cumberbatch with the cast of Hamlet in rehearsal
Benedict Cumberbatch with the cast of Hamlet in rehearsal
Benedict Cumberbatch with the cast of Hamlet in rehearsal

Cumberbatch made the plea to crowds gathered outside the Barbican after his Saturday performance, which was reportedly halted twice due to technical difficulties.

He complained that restarting the play had been made even harder by the "blindingly obvious" filming of "someone in the third row".

People queue for returned tickets for the opening night of Hamlet
People queue for returned tickets for the opening night of Hamlet

Cumberbatch asked fans at the stage door to put technology to "good use" and spread his message through social media, warning that future offenders would be evicted from the show.

Addressing the crowd, he said: "What I really want to do is try and enlist you. I don't really use social media, but I'd really appreciate it if you did tweet, blog, hashtag the s*** out of this one for me."

He added: "This isn't me blaming you, this is just me asking you to just ripple it out there, in the brilliant beautiful way that you do with your funny electronic things."

Cumberbatch made his debut as Hamlet on Wednesday, receiving mixed reviews from critics. In the video, recorded by a fan, he said it had been "one hell of a week".

Sophie Hunter (L) and Benedict Cumberbatch
Sophie Hunter (L) and Benedict Cumberbatch

The Daily Mail's Jan Moir hailed Cumberbatch's performance as "electrifying" and gave the production at London's Barbican theatre five stars.

But Kate Maltby in The Times was less impressed, labelling the production "Hamlet for kids raised on Moulin Rouge" and giving it just two stars.

She wrote: "Benedict Cumberbatch has all the energy Hamlet requires, sweating around the Barbican stage like an oleaginous electric eel, but there's little subtlety in this performance."

Benedict Cumberbatch gets mixed response for Hamlet debut

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in period costume ahead of the forthcoming Sherlock Special made for BBC One by Hartswood Films
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in period costume ahead of the forthcoming Sherlock Special made for BBC One by Hartswood Films

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