Benedict Cumberbatch has pleaded with fans to stop filming his Hamlet performance, saying that it is “mortifying“. The actor said there was “nothing less supportive or enjoyable” than being on stage and seeing a “big red light” from an audience member’s camera, even specifying that the camera spurring this complaint was “on the right three rows back“.
After his Saturday performance at the Barbican theatre, Cumberbatch urged fans not to record his performances as the distraction means he could not give his best performances. 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 shit 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”. The play has been dubbed the fastest selling play in British history, despite Cumberbatch only making his debut performance on Wednesday, which has been given mixed reviews by critics.
The Daily Mail’s Jan Moir acclaimed Cumberbatch’s performance as “electrifying” and gave the production a perfect five star review. However, The Time’s Kate Maltby was less impressed, labelling the production “Hamlet for kids raised on Moulin Rouge”, rating it just two stars. She said, “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”.
Despite the mixed review, it seems the only thing people are talking about is Cumberbatch’s direct plea for audiences not to record the performance and to allow a lasting memory of the play to be created, whether it be “good, bad or indifferent“, but most importantly, without the need for technology.