Wednesday, 21 October 2015

A Birthday in London, and Hamlet at the Barbican

I've always liked Shakespeare's Hamlet. I studied it in some depth at A-Level, and even though that was longer ago than I care to admit I can still remember it pretty well. I wasn't on the ball enough to think about getting tickets to see David Tennant in Hamlet a few years back (I was also around 37 weeks pregnant with Harry when it was on) so when Hamlet with Benedict Cumberbatch was announced well over a year ago I was very keen to try and get tickets.

It was a bit of a mission involving an entire morning along with multiple computers and mobile devices, but Ram came through in the end with a pair of tickets, and it just so happened that they were on my birthday which was a few days ago. So we booked our babysitters (my loyal parents) well in advance and Ram and I headed off for an exciting day out.

We didn't really have any plans for the rest of the day, although we were fortuitously in the right place to book Star Wars tickets for Ram and Harry in person at the BFI Imax in Waterloo on a day that the computer booking systems had crashed. We had a nice lunch at Franco Mance (sourdough pizza, yum!), then spent a lot of the day just wandering about, which suited me perfectly as I love walking around London. We visited Hamleys, popped into the Museum of London and stopped for a sit down and a hot chocolate (a reminder that we are getting older and can't handle as much walking as we used to).

Then we arrived at the Barbican nice and early and found somewhere to sit and eat our sweets.

Waiting for Hamlet at the Barbican

I'm not very good at writing detailed reviews of shows, so I'll just say that I enjoyed it very much. We had excellent seats in the centre of the fifth row, so we had a great view. The play was quite long but it didn't feel it, it was very dark and intensive with an explosive end to the first half that left us showered in pieces of black paper that are still emerging from clothing days later! Benedict Cumberbatch is an excellent actor, and you could see how much work he was putting in, and he seemed very emotional at the end. It was a brilliant production, and I wish that I could watch it again and again! The play was filmed for cinemas last week, so I'm hoping that there will be a version available to buy on DVD at some point.

Hamlet Barbican programme

I haven't decided if this birthday beats my 7th birthday when I received the My Little Pony Dream Castle, but it's definitely going to be hard to improve on it next year!

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