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In rehearsal: Cumberbatch Hamlet

Published 14 July 2015

Benedict Cumberbatch’s Hamlet at the Barbican is without doubt one of the most eagerly anticipated Shakespearean shows in the history of London theatre. Well, in living memory at least.

We were as excited as school children on snow day about David Tennant taking on the Danish prince. We were delirious at the thought of Jude Law muttering his famous soliloquys. Michael Sheen had us stomping with enthusiasm. Rory Kinnear had us as animated as Mickey Mouse.

But none of them, I think, had quite as much tension-building anticipation as the Sherlock and The Hobbit star.

So we very nearly self-combusted with uncontained enthusiasm when we received these images of the Cumberbatch Hamlet rehearsal room, complete with other cast members, this afternoon.

The production, directed by Olivier Award winner Lyndsey Turner, does not open until next month, so Johan Persson’s images are a most welcome teaser as we await the full feast of Shakespearean grandeur.

Hamlet, considered by many to be Shakespeare’s greatest play, follows the royal title character whose father has been killed by Hamlet’s uncle, who has also married Hamlet’s mother. When Hamlet discovers the truth it sets him on a spiral of existential turmoil and revenge that ends badly for almost everyone.

The Cumberbatch-led production begins its Barbican run on 5 August.

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