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To film, or not to film... Not to film, says Hamlet star Cumberbatch

Published 09/08/2015

Cumberbatch's run in the title role of Hamlet is the fastest-selling play in British theatrical history
Cumberbatch's run in the title role of Hamlet is the fastest-selling play in British theatrical history

Benedict Cumberbatch has urged fans not to film his performance as Hamlet, describing it as "mortifying".

The star, who is playing the lead in the fastest-selling play in British history, said there was "nothing less supportive or enjoyable" than being on stage and seeing a "big red light" from an audience member's camera.

Cumberbatch made the plea to crowds gathered outside the Barbican after his Saturday performance, which was reportedly halted twice due to technical difficulties.

He complained that restarting the play had been made even harder by the "blindingly obvious" filming of "someone in the third row".

Cumberbatch asked fans at the stage door to put technology to "good use" and spread his message through social media, warning that future offenders would be evicted from the show.

Addressing the crowd, he said: "What I really want to do is try and enlist you. I don't really use social media, but I'd really appreciate it if you did tweet, blog, hashtag the s*** out of this one for me."

He added: "This isn't me blaming you, this is just me asking you to just ripple it out there, in the brilliant beautiful way that you do with your funny electronic things."

Cumberbatch made his debut as Hamlet on Wednesday, receiving mixed reviews from critics. In the video, recorded by a fan, he said it had been "one hell of a week".

The Daily Mail's Jan Moir hailed Cumberbatch's performance as "electrifying" and gave the production at London's Barbican theatre five stars.

But Kate Maltby in The Times was less impressed, labelling the production "Hamlet for kids raised on Moulin Rouge" and giving it just two stars.

She wrote: "Benedict Cumberbatch has all the energy Hamlet requires, sweating around the Barbican stage like an oleaginous electric eel, but there's little subtlety in this performance."

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