Benedict Cumberbatch did not disappoint his audience as he took to the stage to play Hamlet at the Barbican Centre in London on Wednesday. The 39-year-old actor’s performance was hailed by theatergoers and critics alike as “electrifying,” “sublime” and “riveting.” It was the first preview performance of the play, which was sold out a year in advance.
The “Sherlock” star wowed the audience with his portrayal of Shakespearean tragic Dane as “Hamlet in a hoodie.” Cumberbatch’s highly anticipated appearance saw him veering from moments of laughter and comedy to deep, heart-wrenching tragedy with ease, Hello reported. Three hours after he first took to the stage, Benedict had the audience on the feet as he took a bow with the rest of the cast. The last time the “Sherlock” actor performed on stage was in “Frankenstein” in 2011.
The 12-week production sold out in minutes in August 2014, with the production becoming fastest-selling show in London theater history. Tickets are now being traded on eBay for $300. People had queued overnight at the venue for tickets, camping out by the theatre, while others traveled for many miles to watch the play. Meanwhile, fans do have the chance to get their hands on last-minute tickets – every day of the 12-week production. Thirty tickets are being released costing just 10 pounds, on a first-come first-serve basis.
Benedict’s run at the Barbican started Thursday and continues until Oct. 31. It is one of the biggest challenges of the actor’s career. Hamlet is renowned as the most difficult role in drama. The character has been performed by greats including Sir Laurence Olivier, Mark Rylance, Peter O’Toole and, most recently, David Tennant.
Cumberbatch was initiated into classical theater early in his career, being the son of two actors. He won an Olivier Award for his performance in “Frankenstein.” Prior to this latest performance, he has performed in Shakespeare plays like “Romeo and Juliet” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Earlier this year, Cumberbatch earned an Oscar nomination for his performance as Alan Turing in “The Imitation Game.”
“No critics were granted access to the first preview of 'Hamlet.' Our opening night remains 25 August 2015,” the show’s producers said in a statement. They added that official photography from the production is due to be released early next week and therefore any current photography from the production is unauthorized. The production is directed by Lyndsey Turner and produced by Sonia Friedman Productions.