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Andrew Scott as Hamlet
© Manuel Harlan

Exclusive: Andrew Scott on taking ‘Hamlet’ into the West End

The ‘Sherlock’ star set the stage alight with his take on Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’. It’s been sold out at the tiny Almeida for months; now Scott talks exclusively to Time Out about its West End transfer

Andrzej Lukowski
Written by
Andrzej Lukowski

In 1989, Daniel Day-Lewis freaked out midway through a performance of ‘Hamlet’ and has never been on stage since. How are you getting on?

[Laughs] ‘The total opposite! It’s exhausting but it feeds you a lot of energy, it’s a real play about love and life and there’s an awful lot of stuff in there, a lot more heart than I ever realised.’

Did you read your reviews?

‘I have read a few, yeah, just to get a sense of what people have said. It’s dangerous to read them all but I think it gives them too much power if you refuse to read any, if that makes sense.’

This is your West End debut, isn’t it?

‘It is!’ [laughs] ‘It is my first West End play. We were adamant that if we did do it, it would be so that anybody could afford to see it, it was a pre-requisite – there are 300 tickets under £30 for every performance. It’s not interesting if people are priced out, or feel they have to like it because they paid £80.’


Andrew Scott (Hamlet), Amaka Okafor (Guildenstern), Calum Finlay (Rosencrantz) © Manuel Harlan

‘It’s not interesting if people feel they have to like it because they paid £80’

It’s a three-and-a-half-hour, 400-year-old play – is a West End run a gamble?

‘We’re living an age where people say: “oh my god I watched seven episodes of “Breaking Bad” last night’. People watch for hours if they are entertained. It’s long, because it’s “Hamlet”, but you’ve got to embrace it, it’s something epic and special.’

Have you had ‘Hamlet’ chat with any former Hamlets?

‘Mark Rylance came to see it the other week and he said: “what about that feeling at the end of the play when you’re lying dead and it’s over – there’s nothing like it!”.’ 

'Hamlet' is at the Almeida Theatre until April 15 and the Harold Pinter Theatre from Jun 9-Sep 2 2017. 

Read our review of 'Hamlet' at the Almeida

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Shakespeare

Star director Robert Icke’s achingly compassionate take on ‘Hamlet’ presents Shakespeare’s masterpiece as a shimmeringly sad vision of love. The play is always morally ambivalent, but here it’s a world free of heroes and villains, in which nobody really means badly, but everyone is damned by their passions and frailties. Admittedly most of it is one man’s passions and frailties. 

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