To thin eo wn Cumberbatch be true
Five years ago, when the international broadcasts of National Theatre Live were relatively new, the series disseminated a captivating production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet that starred Rory Kinnear in the title role, direct from the National Theatre in London’s Southbank Centre. Now the tragedy comes up in the rotation again, this time with Benedict Cumberbatch as the doleful Dane, in a production directed by Lyndsey Turner at the Barbican Theatre. The 12-week run of the new production (which ends on Oct. 31) sold out all but instantly, testimony to the marketing effect of celebrity casting. Controversy has dogged the production, but quite a few of Britain’s theater critics responded warmly to the star at the center, in some cases to their apparent surprise. Wrote Dominic Cavendish in The Telegraph, “Cumberbatch admirers can take heart, his female devotees are entitled to swoon: in this trial of his acting strength, he emerges, unquestionably, victorious.” It’s a long sit, topping three hours (including a single intermission), but, hey, it’s Hamlet! The NT Live broadcast begins at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30, at the Lensic Performing Arts Center (211 W. San Francisco St.). Tickets are $22, call 505-988-1234 for availability.