Round two of the 2009 Hamlet head-to-head finally arrived last night (3 June 2009, previews from 29 May) with the opening of the Donmar Warehouse staging of Hamlet, featuring Jude Law, tackling the title role in the West End five months after David Tennant completed the honours for the Royal Shakespeare Company (See News, 14 Oct 2008).

The final offering in the year-long Donmar West End season at Wyndham’s Theatre, Hamlet continues until 22 August 2009. The production is directed by Donmar artistic director Grandage, who took over from Kenneth Branagh, the season’s artistic associate.

Law co-stars with Donmar regulars Penelope Wilton and Kevin R McNally as Gertrude and Claudius. Other Donmar veterans in the cast are: Peter Eyre, Matt Ryan, Alex Waldmann and Ron Cook. Gugu Mbatha-Raw] plays Ophelia, Gwilym Lee is Guildenstern and John MacMillan is Rosencrantz. The production is designed by Christopher Oram, with lighting by Neil Austin and sound by Adam Cork.

TO SCROLL THROUGH ALL OF HAMLET's 1ST NIGHT PHOTOS,
JUST CLICK ON THE "NEXT >" LINKS BELOW THE FOLLOWING FRAME.
PHOTOS BY DAN WOOLLER FOR WHATSONSTAGE.COM.

For 1st Night Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer Dan Wooller was on hand for the post-show party at the National Gallery cafe along with the company and creative team. Other first night guests included Kate Fleetwood, Rupert Goold, Jeremy Herrin, Elliot Cowan, Rupert Evans, Katherine Kingsley, Luke Evans, Pamela Miles, Tim Pigott-Smith, Frances Barber, Indira Varma and Malcolm Sinclair.

The Donmar West End season, which runs concurrently with the theatre’s programme at its 250-seat Covent Garden home base, launched in September 2008 with Ivanov, starring Kenneth Branagh; continuing this year with Twelfth Night, featuring Derek Jacobi as Malvolio; Yukio Mishima’s 1965 Japanese play Madame de Sade, led by Judi Dench and Rosamund Pike; and concluding now with Hamlet (See News, 10 Sep 2007). All four productions have been directed by Michael Grandage.