No – Benedict Cumberbatch didn’t find one of these Peyote Beaded Skulls from the British Museum in the grave in the brilliant production of Hamlet directed by Lyndsey Turner. He picked up a facsimile of a real human skull.
I wasn’t sure I wanted to see the film of the Barbican production but it was on at the local Curzon and Jane had come over for the weekend.
I was used to a Hamlet who declaimed. I came from a generation that had seen Shakespeare performed by great Shakespearian actors like Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson and Margaret Leighton – powerful but very traditional and mannered. This production was completely different, timeless but in the present and utterly convincing. A friend has seen the film of Hamlet twice and if it’s shown again I will too.
And don’t fall into the trap of misquoting Hamlet. He did not say ‘Alas poor Yorick I knew him well’!!