In a thoroughly modern move, Shakespeare’s Globe has entered the lockdown entertainment sphere. At the end of March and in answer to the prayers of all at-home thesps, the theatre announced it would be streaming a free play a fortnight. And first up, it was Hamlet, which started airing on YouTube on Monday April 6. Luckily, the play will remain available to view online for a whole fortnight beyond its premiere.
Ordinarily, users would have to rent or buy digital versions of plays from London’s famous Elizabethan-style outdoor theatre via its digital service, Globe Player, but now it will be offering up performances from the archives on its YouTube channel for Shakespeare fans staying safe at home.
The 2018 production of ‘Hamlet’ that’s being streamed starred Globe boss Michelle Terry in the main role. Known as Shakespeare’s longest and perhaps best-loved play, the tragedy, first performed around 1600, centres on the complex and ultimately doomed Danish prince and the revenge of his father’s murder.
Back in 2018, Time Out theatre editor Andrzej Lukowski had this to say about the Globe production:
‘Terry plays Hamlet as a sort of sulky androgyne, possibly a teenager, possibly an older princeling emotionally stunted by their privilege... Her Hamlet seems passionately unhinged, bona fide disturbed.’
Once the digital run of ‘Hamlet’ comes to a close, viewers will be able to tune in for the next free performance, ‘Romeo and Juliet’, which is being released on Monday April 20. But until then... to stream or not to stream, that is the question. And we think you know the answer.
Read an interview with Michelle Terry from our archives on why she took on the starring role on top of her duties as artistic director.
Read the full ‘Hamlet’ review.