Posts Tagged ‘Benedict cumbermatch review’

On ‘Letters Live’

April 4, 2015

Dear friends,

I have to write very briefly about the best evening of entertainment I’ve had in my life so far.

Completely by chance, and I am afraid to say, news of the fire in Holborn, I found out about the performance of ‘Letters Live’ in Freemasons Hall.

I saw Benedict Cumberbatch, Louise Brealey, Tom Hiddleston, Kylie Minogue, Matt Berry, to name a few. All about 3 metres away from me. But being starstruck didn’t last very long. It was the most intimate venue and they read the most intimate letters – by the second act, I felt so close to every single person there. Letters they read varied from very funny, such as a letter from Elvis Presley to Nixon, to heart-breaking, such as a letter written by a man, who was just sold to slavery, to his wife. Benedict Cumberbatch read Kurt Cobain’s last letter in such a way that no one in the audience remained tearless.

World class performers, an excellent collection of letters, almost a family atmosphere all made this an evening I will never ever forget. I was reminded of how precious letters are. I write some to my friend in Germany but I absolutely must write more.

Can’t write anymore now, I am far far too excited!

Olga

On the Hobbit: The desolation of Smaug.

December 13, 2013

The very first point absolutely must be about Smaug. This dragon was made to be mighty, scary, glorious, amazing: all at once and more. Mr Cumberbatch gives him a voice that makes one shiver, the entire team who worked on the dragon deserve all the Oscars and medals the film industry has to give.

Having said that, I admit, I wasn’t overwhelmed with the whole movie.

I love the book (who doesn’t!?) because of its adventurous spirit, good pace and interesting characters. I believe that the second movie was made to be an action movie, not an adventure, like the first one and I don’t understand why. I read some reviewers liked it for that very reason! Obviously tastes are different, etc, but I did not like the addition of unnecessary violence – it is a children’s book, which is good and at times scary enough without extra orc on elf knife action.

Gandalf said that all good stores deserve embellishment. I very much agree. That’s why I didn’t mind Peter Jackson making 3 movies, not 2. It is the last chance to tell the story, so I don’t mind them using bits from appendices and adding extra characters. But why did we need a love story in there? Are we as audience so stupid that we can’t watch 3 movies without some romance? I think not.

Despite some unnecessary violence and romance and less adventurous feel, the movie was still beautifully made. Martin Freeman, as Bilbo, is fantastic yet again. They really could not have casted a better Bilbo – he is superb on every level. The iconic scene with the barrels was perfect, the one with spiders terrifying and of course I am going to see it again. Perhaps not as many times as the one last year but I will go to the cinema again next week and enjoy it. And so should you. Don’t even wait till next week, it’s mostly very good, honest!

On Frankenstein with Benedict Cumberbatch as the creature

November 6, 2013

The National Theatre has been doing cinema broadcasts of Danny Boyle’s production of Frankenstein for a couple of Halloweens now. This is the first year I went to see it and had the best, scariest Halloween treat for many years.

It is rare that a play (or a movie, or an opera) has a profound effect on you in the first 5 minutes. This one does. From the very beginning I thought that this is already nothing like I’ve ever seen before. The birth and physical development of the creature by Mr Cumberbatch is incredibly touching. I’ve always felt deep sympathy with the creature but his performance portrayed vulnerability on a completely different level.

Mr Cumberbatch redefines whatever we meant by ‘a physical actor’ before. He is consistently impressive and surprising. He is very objectified nowadays, most comments I hear are related to his appearance so it was good to see yet another proof that actually he is famous because of his incredible, out of this world acting skills, not merely because he is ‘hot’.

Despite his brilliance, the main reason to see the production is, without a doubt, the story by Mary Shelley. It is the most stunning book, astonishingly well-written and interesting. It is not at all obvious as to how it can be produced as a play. Danny Boyle does that perfectly. He managed to re-create the atmosphere of the book and enhanced my understanding of it by allowing me to feel the emotions of the characters (particularly the creature) so much stronger. He added a lot of dialogue, including some comic relief, which some purists might dislike but was very much welcomed by me! The scene of Elizabeth’s death was also changed from the book and was made not just sad but extremely shocking and upsetting. At first I thought that it was unnecessary but Mary Shelley did want to shock people and this production took ‘shocking’ to a degree that would affect modern viewers.

The genius of this production is that main actors switched every night, so next time Johny Lee Miller will play the creature and Benedict Cumberbatch will play Victor Frankenstein. I really hope that the National Theatre will broadcast this play again next Halloween, I will certainly go again! Dear reader, if you remember next year, do go too!

P.S. I appreciate that this review is nearly a week late but I’ve been busy travelling. Next I am going to see Madama Butterfly, an opera by Puccini, I will try not to delay.

On Frankenstein with Benedict Cumberbatch as the creature.