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Shakespeare's iron filings


David Tennant. Intense and also sweet?

David Tennant, famous for his Time Lordly magic as Dr Who, returns to the Royal Shakespeare Company to play Hamlet. Patrick Stewart plays the ghost of Hamlet's father and his uncle Claudius. Penny Downie is Gertrude.

Director Gregory Doran said, "Shakespeare attracts the iron filings of whatever is going on in the world like a magnet."

I am not that interested in the political, social or dysfunctional family filings attracted by Hamlet. My iron filings are more personal.

I like to think that decisions can be made - and made straightforwardly - so I become impatient with the Danish prince, yet I know how it feels to be trapped. I am sorry that he feels utterly alone, without a friend to stand with him, yet I am sometimes repulsed by his self-centredness. But isn't the source of his self-absorption a painful wound? Dying, he tells Horatio, "If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart . . ." If he can say that, surely he must have known what it was to hold another in his heart?

Filings are flying. Reviews of the production should be out shortly.

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