The Donmar Warehouse production of "Hamlet" has only a few more weeks left to run at the Broadhurst Theater in New York. Although the remainder of the run is probably sold out, it's worth it to try for tickets. Reviews for Jude Law's interpretation of Hamlet have been wildly mixed; some critics have found him kinetic and brilliant, others histrionic and shallow. I side firmly with the former group. The production may be "modern dress" (i.e. the somber clothes worn by the actors are of every era and none), but Law plays Hamlet as an authentic Elizabethan gallant, his extravagant gestures and virulent mood swings reminiscent of those noblemen--such as the Earls of Essex and Southampton--whom Shakespeare knew so well. I have never seen a more brilliantly acted or staged version of the "To Be or Not to Be" monologue: Law, hugging himself in the snow against an endless brick wall (the last a hallmark of the Donmar Warehouse, so I'm told), casts the opening words away from the audience, into the void stretching before him.
Other cast members acquit themselves well, especially Kevin R. McNally as Claudius and Ron Cook as Polonius. If the production has a weak link, it is the usually excellent Geraldine James, who is too passive and reserved as Gertrude. The bedroom scene, one of the most passionate in all drama, is lopsided and somewhat chilly here. The rest of the production, however, burns with a dark fire that that makes the hundred-plus bucks for a mezzanine seat well worth it. Buy one, if you can.