MEL GIBSON—THE BEST HAMLET PERFORMANCE? Mary Jane and I have up to now considered Mel Gibson to be the best Hamlet we have seen, and, I think, for the same reason. The first Hamlet that each of us saw, when we were quite young, was Maurice Evans (apparently I would have seen it when I was 11). Evans was given to intoning his lines. His Hamlet was weak and incapable of taking any strong action, much less killing Claudius. Even though I knew better once I had read the play, that impression of Hamlet stayed with me at some level. Mel Gibson not only gave a good performance, he brought with him his persona from Mad Max and Lethal Weapon, so that when Gibson’s Hamlet refrained from killing Claudius, it was a deliberate choice. I think that I build up my image of each Shakespeare play, with each new line reading or performance I encounter either changing or deepening that image. I will be bringing Gibson’s Hamlet along when I watch David Tennant.

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