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Hamlet (Classic Stage Company)

Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Clever, Ambitious, Entertaining

About the show

Peter Sarsgaard stars in a Classic Stage Company production that explores one of William Shakespeare's most profound works.

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"To be, or not to be? That is the question." Generation after generation of great actors have gone on to give their own unique and personal answer to Hamlet's most famous query. Actor Peter Sarsgaard reunites with director Austin Pendleton for a new contemporary take on this timeless classic.

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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

New York Post

"The least you can say about Peter Sarsgaard’s performance as Shakespeare’s vengeful prince is that it’s fully committed — in every sense of the word. The Hamlet he portrays in Austin Pendleton’s modern-dress production isn’t so much melancholy as mentally unbalanced and likely delusional...he projects a fretful, anxious energy — Hamlet’s coke habit probably doesn’t help...But the show as a whole is less coherent than Sarsgaard’s interpretation, and deflates when he’s offstage." Full Review

The New York Times

"The concept behind this stylish-looking modern-dress production directed by Austin Pendleton essentially presents the action as a long dramatic hangover after the wedding celebrations for Claudius and Gertrude...Unfortunately, by the end of this respectable but sluggish production, which runs over three hours, you may feel as you do after attending one of those overblown weddings that seem to go on for days, and sometimes do. In other words, dazed and ready for bed." Full Review


"Excellent new production...Clarity reigns in this simple and effective staging. This is by no means an action-packed "Hamlet." A general lethargy pervades, but it is never boring. In fact, we can't look away. This is a testament to Pendleton's surefooted vision of a house on the brink of demise.". Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"Now, at last, a Hamlet for our own era: emoji Hamlet...Peter Sarsgaard’s dynamic, but ultimately wearying Dane never met a state of mind he couldn’t adopt and then abandon. His prince is sad and happy, sane and crazy...Everyone knows Hamlet by now, which is lucky, as it would be very difficult to parse if you didn’t come in with some sense of the plot...Even amid the swordfights and the poisonings and martial conquest, something was tiresome in the state of Denmark." Full Review

New York Daily News

"Something’s rotten in Denmark — and it’s the Classic Stage Company’s anemic and dour version of “Hamlet.”...The acting throughout is as pale and monochromatic as the white floral canopy hovering over guests...Polonius is overdressed and bored in a morning coat, as though he was expecting a snazzier affair. Audiences at “Hamlet” will relate." Full Review


"The less said about this current production of Hamlet, the better...Sarsgaard, whether by his own purpose or pushed by the director, plays Hamlet as dim of wit and halting of speech. There’s no depth of feeling between him and Horatio, let alone his mom or Ophelia. It’s all so languorous and sloppy that by the time the stage is littered with bodies — silence, finally! — we can only welcome Fortinbras with a quick salute — and a quicker exit." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

"Classic Stage Company’s “Hamlet” might just be the definitive “Hamlet” for the twenty-first century. Staged with shimmering creativity, the iconic Shakespearian tragedy bristles with a contemporary edge firmly rooted in tradition...under Austin Pendleton’s transformative direction, it transcends Elizabethan revenge tragedy and with surgical precision cuts deeply into Hamlet’s ennui and his alienation from life. This is a “Hamlet” not to be missed." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"There is a new Hamlet in town, and Peter Sarsgaard has his back, giving this poetic youth of the ages a crisp, nuanced, and strikingly modern voice. This Hamlet is fresh faced...His iambic pentameter is a bit splayed out like a chicken born with legs akimbo, but it works, making Hamlet familiar, not so foreign, not so distant and entirely digestible...go see it, because of its very modern take and accessibility. And because Peter Sarsgaard's unique Hamlet is one you won't want to miss." Full Review


"An atmosphere of fearlessness hangs over the new production of Shakespeare’s "Hamlet" at Classic Stage Company. Star Peter Sarsgaard and director Austin Pendleton take a naturalistic approach that proves a good fit for the relatively loose, sometimes almost improvisatory flavor of the play...I had to think about it for a while. I’ve decided it worked." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Ambitious, Dizzying, Edgy, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to see a strong directorial vision applied to "Hamlet" or you wish to see a tour de force performance by Oscar Isaac as the Dane.

Don't see it if You don't like to see a director mess with Hamlet as typically staged.

Banal, Disappointing, Excruciating, Insipid, Slow

See it if Don't see it. It was one of the worst Hamlets I've ever seen.

Don't see it if You like Shakespeare. It was slow and didn't do justice...

Epic, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Great writing

See it if you've never seen Hamlet.

Don't see it if you're not a fan of Shakespeare.

Ambitious, Epic, Intense, Profound, Confusing

See it if you like shakespeare and great actors

Don't see it if you don't dig the bard

Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if you want to see strong performances by the entire cast.

Don't see it if you don't want to see an abridged version of Hamlet.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Masterful, Resonant, Riveting

See it if you dig Shakespeare. It is his seminal piece of literature and worth seeing just for the "To be or not to be" monologue.

Don't see it if If you don't understand Shakespeare. If you get confused or focused on the language used you should try it anyway though.

Ambitious, Clever, Edgy, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if See at the Globe in London; by far the best of the bard. Hamlet is such an intriguing character, literally took my breath away

Don't see it if At least try it out once. Shakespearean speech might not be your "thing" but Hamlet certainly will be!

Ambitious, Confusing, Slow

See it if you love Hamlet and want to see an interesting (yet slightly confusing) modernized staging in an intimate space.

Don't see it if you have high hopes for Hamlet (the character) as this one does not live up to expectations.

Delightful, Dizzying, Exquisite, Confusing, Entertaining

See it if You're into culture

Don't see it if You're not into culture

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Profound, Great writing

See it if You love Shakespeare. Great staging Ana performances.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy the classics.

Funny, Clever, Thought-provoking, Profound, Confusing

See it if You love Shakespeare.

Don't see it if You can't follow a Shakespeare play for the life of you.

Funny, Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining

See it if You like Shakespeare

Don't see it if you dont like Shakespeare

Thought-provoking, Masterful, Must see, Profound, Entertaining

See it if You like to see true artistry.

Don't see it if You don't understand art.


See it if You can understand Shakespeare's language

Don't see it if You don't understand old English

Absorbing, Clever, Great writing, Excruciating, Great staging

See it if You can see it to OSF with the modern interpretation

Don't see it if You don't like Shakespeare

Funny, Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Great staging

See it if Hamlet is a Shakespeare great! From great acting, to great quotes from the show. Hamlet will always be one of the greatest plays of all time

Don't see it if You don't like Shakespeare

Clever, Intense, Must see, Great writing, Dated

See it if You want to see an angsty Danish prince talk about suicide.

Don't see it if You can't stand Shakespeare.

Funny, Ambitious, Clever, Edgy, Entertaining

See it if you have read the play.

Don't see it if you haven't read the play.

Epic, Thought-provoking, Cliched

See it if Good show if you love a classic shakesphere play that throws you for a world wind question what gonna come yet

Don't see it if If you not a fan of old English language

Ambitious, Edgy, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Resonant

See it if You delight in hearing the spoken word of Shakespeare.

Don't see it if You do not have any background as to what the story is about.

Clever, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Riveting, Entertaining

See it if Love Shakespeare

Don't see it if Are offended by murder

Clever, Exquisite, Great acting, Must see, Riveting

See it if You love subtle plot progressions and twists, you love mysteries/thrillers, and can sit through Shakespeare & understand what is happening

Don't see it if You always fell asleep in high school English classes while reading Shakespeare, you're afraid of ghosts, or you want a happy ending

Absorbing, Clever, Intelligent, Riveting, Great staging

See it if you love shakespeare, death and drama

Don't see it if you don't like shows with lots of words and that have to make you think

Epic, Great acting, Great writing

See it if always see Hamlet!

Don't see it if If you have seen it like, 16 times, you are exempt.

Must see, Profound, Relevant, Great writing, Great staging

See it if You love Shakespeare's works.

Don't see it if You don't like the classics.