Cumberbatch braves critics' slings and arrows at Hamlet press night


Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch is hoping to impress the critics as he takes to the stage for the official press night of Hamlet.

Cumberbatch will be performing in Shakespeare's great tragedy at the Barbican in London until the end of October.

The show has received mixed early reviews, with The Times giving it a mere two stars. One of the newspaper's criticisms was the decision to move Hamlet's famous "To be or not to be..." soliloquy from the third act to the first. 

Later, though, it was reported that the speech had been switched back to the third act.

Kate Maltby, in The Times, labelled the production "Hamlet for kids raised on Moulin Rouge".

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

While signing autographs for fans after a show recently, Cumberbatch made a plea to fans to refrain from filming his performances, an experience he described 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, who made his debut in the play earlier this month, 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.