British actor Jude Law has split Broadway theatre critics over his performance as Hamlet following the play's official opening on Tuesday night (06Oct09).
The star takes on the role of Shakespeare's Danish prince for the second time this year (09), after transferring the show from London's West End to the Big Apple.
Law earns credit for his stage presence from the likes of The New York Times, stating: "Mr. Law, a rakish leading man of film, doesn’t disappear onstage the way some screen stars do. Though small-boned and delicately featured, he fills the theatre to the saturation point."
Time Out New York's reviewer David Cote adds, "He holds court at the centre of his scenes with an intensity, intelligence and awestruck wonder that puts most Hamlets I’ve seen to shame."
The Hollywood Reporter welcomed Law's strong delivery, with writer Frank Scheck saying, "(Law) delivers a stirring, beautifully spoken performance that is as intelligent as it is dynamic."
But the same publications that praised Law also had some harsh words for the actor.
The New York Times says, "If Hamlet talks about his mind, you can bet that Mr. Law will point to his forehead; when he mentions the heavens, his arm shoots straight up; and when the guy says his gorge rises, rest assured that he clutches at his stomach. If every actor were like Mr. Law, signed performances for the hard of hearing would be unnecessary."
Bloomberg News' John Simon was more cutting in his comments, branding Law's performance "flashy, frequently jocular and unsubtle", while taking aim at his fans: "(Hamlet is) aimed at neophyte audiences lured to the play not only by the star but with the added promise of a thriller liberally sprinkled with yocks."
Law will star in Hamlet at the Broadhurst Theatre until 6 December (09).