May 04, 2004
Oh what a rogue and peasant slave Trevor Nunn is (or: why I prefer dead entertainment to live entertainment)

Today I found myself in Waterloo Road, and the walk back home took me past the Old Vic theatre. They have a production of Trevor Nunn's Hamlet running there, and it's being much talked about. So I went in to see about how much it might cost for me, or maybe me and a friend, to see Trevor Nunn's Hamlet.

The crappiest seats to watch Trevor Nunn's Hamlet, where you don't actually get to sit down at all, to watch Trevor Nunn's Hamlet, are £10. The crappiest seats where you do get to sit down and watch Trevor Nunn's Hamlet are, if I remember it right, £12.50.

TrevorNunn.jpgThe genuinely decent seats for Trevor Nunn's Hamlet are £37.50. This is way out of my league. No offence to Trevor Nunn's Hamlet (keep reading, we'll get to offending Trevor Nunn's Hamlet quite soon now) but this is more than I can afford. What if I really like it and want to go again, to Trevor Nunn's Hamlet? What if I want to take another friend to Trevor Nunn's Hamlet. That's a whole trip to the South of France.

One of the more annoying affectations of the British subsidised theatre is that even when a production clearly has a Big Star Performer, as here, they nevertheless list the actors in alphabetical order. So who the hell is playing Hamlet? Impossible to tell.

No problem about telling us all about how important Trevor Nunn is though. He gets start billing on the posters. You'd think he was playing Hamlet. "Trevor Nunn's Hamlet." As they say in America: please. You do eventually learn, if you follow that link and read past the big picture of Trevor Nunn, that Trevor Nunn's Hamlet is actually being acted (as opposed to directed/produced) not by Trevor Nunn as you might have expected, but by a certain Ben Whishaw, 23.

Guess who's playing Gertrude. Correct. Mrs Trevor Nunn.

In case you are confused, and given that Trevor Nunn doesn't actually act Hamlet in Trevor Nunn's Hamlet, did Trevor Nunn perhaps write Trevor Nunn's Hamlet. No again. Trevor Nunn's Hamlet wasn't actually written by Trevor Nunn at all, but by William Shakespeare (1564-1616). True. Not Trevor Nunn at all. Trevor Nunn just told the actors where to stand and organised the rehearsals. Just for that, Trevor Nunn gets to have Trevor Nunn up on the poster in big letters. TREVOR NUNN.

Pass.

Franciscus4.jpgI made my way to Neil's barrow of second hand classical CDs in Lower Marsh, prior to visiting Gramex, where second hand classical CDs are sold indoors. Gramex had few pickings, but at Neil's barrow I got a CD of Beethoven's String Quartet in A minor opus 132, which is by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) and which is one of the peaks (one of a set of peaks in the form of all the late Beethoven String Quartets) of Western Civilisation, played by the Franciscus Quartet, or by Franciscus Kwartet as it says on the front. It's a Dutch production, recorded in Delft in 2003.

Price: £1.

I've just listened to it. It's excellent.

If I could watch a second hand DVD of Trevor Nunn's William Shakespeare's Hamlet for, say, a fiver, as many times as I wanted, and with as many friends as I wanted, then I might be interested.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 09:26 PM
Category: Classical musicTheatre