Is Benedict Cumberbatch Really God?

I think Benedict Cumberbatch is actually God.  There is nothing the man cannot do: from a whiz-bang slap-up Sherlock to a slithering Richard III who out-Voldemorts Voldemort, the man is a total genius.  I’ve never actually seen his Hamlet but I watched the latest in the Hollow Crown series on the beeb last night and I was totally gripped.  At first I thought he was playing it a bit over the top, but he sustained the level of evil and upped it at key moments to a character that could rival his alter ego’s nemesis, Moriarty.

I had wondered whether they might, in the light of recent discoveries, update it a little: put in a hint or two that Richard wasn’t as bad as he’s painted – but as OH pointed out, the text doesn’t leave you too much scope for that.  It’s a shame he’s been given this undeserved reputation by a playwright who was merely sucking up to the Tudors: even so I thought they might add a little reference at the end to him being buried in the choir of the old church, but the film ended with a shot of the battlefield, pulling back and back so that in the end it looked like a grotesque Breughel:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b07d3ks4/the-hollow-crown-the-wars-of-the-roses-3-richard-iii

Sophie Okonedo is also brilliant as Margaret of Anjou, a performance sustained through several plays.

Richard III is far more interesting than the other history plays as it’s basically a psychological drama, the battle coming only at the very end and providing a satisfactory catharsis.  There’s not too much catharsis around at the moment, so let’s make the most of it…

Kirk out

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1 Comment

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One response to “Is Benedict Cumberbatch Really God?

  1. Graham Price

    Oh, I think you need to have another look at Shakespeare’s Histories – the two parts of Henry lV are among the best things written in the English language and the Henry Vl plays read like a great political thriller. King John (which I saw last year, when the anniversary of Magna Carta led to slew of productions) is also underrated. As for Henry V….without a doubt (I’d say) the best play about war/conflict ever written (and anyone who thinks it’s a jingoistic flag-waver needs to look again). The only dud among the Histories is Henry Vlll, most of which wasn’t written by the Stratford Tradesman (though you can tell the bits that were).

    As for Richard lll – Shakespeare (or whoever actually wrote the play) had no option but to portray him as a villain. But you’ll notice he creates a very charismatic villain, one with a great sense of style and humour. You can imagine Richard Gloucester as a very exciting person to be around – always full of plans and ideas, like one of those ambitious young men who confidently tell you ‘I’ll be a millionaire before I’m 30’. Imagine Richard Branson or Michael Heseltine with a sick twist and you’ve got Richard lll. And the Lady Anne scene – which some actresses find impossible to play – really works when Anne is played as a woman who is surprised to find herself incredibly turned on by the idea that someone would kill to possess her. Such things happen….

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