David Tennant, due to face the press tonight (9 December) as Hamlet in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s highly anticipated production at the Novello theatre, will miss the performance due to a back injury. The actor also missed yesterday evening’s show.
The press performance will go ahead as planned, with understudy Edward Bennett, who normally plays the role of Laertes, as Hamlet.
Michael Boyd, Artistic Director of the RSC, said: “As an ensemble company we feel that it is important to go ahead with tonight’s performance. While understanding that some people will be disappointed at not seeing David Tennant on stage, this production, like all our productions, is more than the sum of its parts – an ensemble of actors, designers, composers etc. and we should respect that by going ahead as planned.”
The show’s director Gregory Doran said “David is gutted, not only at the thought of disappointing audiences, but also to be unable to perform a role that he has worked on and developed throughout 60 performances in Stratford-upon-Avon. Before this injury, he has only ever been off for one performance in his entire career to date, and is hoping that he will be able to return to the show as quickly as possible. It is an indication of the RSC’s investment in understudies that Ed Bennett can take over from David in one of Shakespeare’s largest roles at such short notice.”
Bennett, whose stage credits include Othello at the Donmar Warehouse and A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the RSC, now leads a cast that also includes Patrick Stewart as Claudius, Penny Downie as Gertrude and Oliver Ford Davies as Polonius. Tom Davey takes on the role of Laertes, with Ricky Champ as Guildenstern and Robert Curtis as Lucianus.
As yet there has been no confirmation from the RSC as to when Tennant will resume performances.