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From Holmes to Hamlet

Benedict Cumberbatch broods as the spoiled Prince of Denmark


Benedict Cumberbatch as Hamlet, produced by National Theatre Live.

By Brock Cravy

September, 2014



Hamlet, the most popular play written by beyond-legendary classic playwright William Shakespeare, has enjoyed a very popular and long winded run since its first debut in the 17th century. Few plays have enjoyed such a massive amount of success, and with good reason; Hamlet is widely considered to be Shakespeare’s best work.

For as many times as Shakespeare has been performed, which is far too many to count, there have been numerous actors that have played the role of the moody and contemplative student-turned-avenger, with varying results.


Hamlet isn’t an easy show; it’s the longest show written by Shakespeare, and it requires a tremendous amount of effort on the part of the cast and crew. The role of Hamlet is just as difficult, as the character has the largest amount of lines out of any character in any Shakespeare play, not to mention a complex and detailed mental state that can be difficult to properly portray on stage.

Now there’s a new face stepping up to take on the classic role, throwing his hat in the ring and betting it all to either perfectly capture the complex character or completely miss the mark. Given his track record, we’re betting that his performance will be solid, to say the least.

Benedict Cumberbatch, best known for his adept performances in films like The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and 12 Years a Slave, will join the long list of actors that have attempted to bring the Bard’s hardest character to life in National Theatre Live’s latest staging.

Cumberbatch is no stranger to difficult roles, including the role of Richard III for the BBC, and he has proven to be highly adaptable with his long list of versatile film and TV credits. From Sherlock Holmes to war hardened Major, Cumberbatch has successfully brought countless roles to life. His ability to captivate an audience, as well as properly convey a character, has been consistent throughout his career.

National Theatre Live specializes in recording high quality performances that can be viewed all over the world, and this won’t be the first time Cumberbatch has worked with the group. Cumberbatch previously starred in their production of Frankenstein back in 2011, a performance that has garnered fantastic reviews and multiple showings. Due to the previously successful collaboration, many Shakespeare lovers the world over are eagerly anticipating Cumberbatch’s performance.

Though it might be a difficult role to tackle, possibly even the most difficult role ever written, Cumberbatch has shown time and again that he is capable of providing a strong, realistic and memorable performance. With Cumberbatch in the mix, we can’t wait to be captivated by the most fascinating character ever written, and Cumberbatch’s turn as the troubled Prince of Denmark will certainly be a treat for Shakespeare fans throughout the entire world.

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