Penelope Wilton, who plays Gertrude, won the Evening Standard Award for Best Actress (jointly with her co-star Margaret Tyzack) for Grandage’s production of The Chalk Garden at the Donmar Warehouse last year, for which she has also been nominated in the Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Awards. She has just been seen in TS Eliot’s The Family Reunion at the Donmar, where her other credits include John Gabriel Borkman, The Little Foxes and A Kind of Alaska.
Kevin R McNally, who plays Hamlet’s uncle turned stepfather Claudius, starred this past autumn in Ivanov the first production of the Donmar West End season, for which he’s been nominated for a Whatsonstage.com Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Play. At the Donmar Warehouse itself, McNally appeared in World Music, while his other stage credits include Boeing Boeing, The Lady in the Van and Naked.
Other Donmar veterans in the cast are: Peter Eyre (whose Donmar credits include Murder in the Cathedral and The Wild Duck) as the Ghost of Hamlet’s father/Player King, Matt Ryan (Small Change) as Horatio, and staying on from Grandage’s current production of Twelfth Night at Wyndham’s, Alex Waldmann as Laertes and Ron Cook (whose other Donmar credits include Helpless, Juno and the Paycock and Glengarry Glen Ross) as Polonius.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw (just seen in Gethsemane at the National) plays Ophelia, Gwilym Lee (Oedipus at the NT) is Guildenstern and John MacMillan (In the Red and Brown Water, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot) is Rosencrantz.
Hamlet is directed by Donmar artistic director Grandage – who took over from Kenneth Branagh, the season’s artistic associate (See News, 14 Oct 2008) – and designed by Christopher Oram, with lighting by Neil Austin and sound by Adam Cork.
- by Terri Paddock