Coming to a cinema near you: Maxine Peake’s Hamlet

Susie Stubbs

Didn’t get to see Maxine Peake’s version of Hamlet in the flesh? Fear not – it’ll soon be screened in cinemas across the country.

It’s safe to say that Sarah Frankcom and Maxine Peake’s version of Hamlet caused something of a stir. Peake’s by turns ferociously angry and heartbreakingly vulnerable performance pulled in the plaudits, while the staging – which included a grave scene where freshly dug soil was represented by a curious jumble of old clothes – met with a more mixed response. “It’s not the performance you expect,” said The Times critic, Dominic Maxwell. “It is, however, a stunningly good one… Peake and co. make this 400-year-old revenge tragedy come alive in a way you’ve never seen before.” The Guardian’s Michael Billington, meanwhile, declared Peake’s version of Hamlet to be “caustic, watchful, spry and filled with a moral disgust at the corruption she sees around her.”

But whether you consider Hamlet to have been a critical success or not, it was an unarguable hit. It was the Royal Exchange’s fastest-selling show in over ten years. Over 35,000 people sat in the theatre-in-the-round to experience it, and now the Exchange has announced that a film version of it has just wrapped up – meaning that Hamlet will be shown in around 200 cinemas from March next year.

It makes sense in a way that it wouldn’t even a few years back

A film version of Hamlet makes sense in a way that it perhaps wouldn’t even just a few years back. The team behind its production includes Margaret Williams, who has form when it comes to turning drama on stage into drama on film (such as a celluloid version of Britten’s opera, Peter Grimes, staged on the beach at Aldeburgh). It also tags on to the growing popularity of live theatre screened in cinemas – witness the runaway success of National Theatre Live, which sees its London productions show in cinemas across the country. Pencil Peake into your diary for April 2015, when the film comes to HOME in Manchester – if you didn’t get the chance to see her at the Exchange, this film version looks set to be the next best thing.

Culture Guides

Cinema

It’s almost that most wonderful time of the year and there’s all kinds of festive programming and counter-programming in the cinemas of Manchester and the North.

Ren Hang: Wake Up Together at Open Eye Gallery

Exhibitions

Tubism, pottery, same-sex intimacy and art education; this month’s Exhibitions Guide has it all. (Even a tentative mention of Christmas.)

Chinese dragon, Manchester

Families

Christmas, Chinese New Year, A World Inside A Book … we are dreaming of the best things to do with kids this winter, half-term and even summer holidays already. Yep

Poet Andrew McMillan. Photo Ursula Soltys.

Literature

New year, new lot of live literature events lined up for you – and, boy, do we have some treats for you to feast your ears upon, from performance poetry to readings from magazines, memoirs and much more besides.

Music

This month’s music guide features some of the most exciting underground artists from around the world, as well as homegrown Manchester talent.

Theatre in Manchester and the North

Theatre

Contemporary circus, slapstick comedy, burlesque and immersive dining. Our theatre guide spans the festive season and beyond.

Tours and Activities

This month we are highlighting some of the top multilingual tours and activities Manchester has to offer.

Things to do right now

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Activity 24 November–15 December 2018, from £4

World of Music at Band on the Wall

Comedy 14–15 December 2018, from £7.5

ComedySportz Improvised Panto at Waterside

PAPER Gallery in Manchester presents Tim Ellis - Cypher
Exhibitions 10 November–15 December 2018, FREE

Tim Ellis: Cypher at PAPER Gallery

Cinema 2 November–16 December 2018, from £5

Peterloo at HOME

A Christmas Carol at Theatre Deli
Theatre 30 November–16 December 2018, from £35.00

A Christmas Carol at Theatre Deli

Red Squirrel at Lightwaves
Festivals 7–16 December 2018, FREE

Lightwaves 2018 at The Quays

Families 12–18 December 2018, from £12.5

Dear Santa at The Atkinson

Cinema 3 November–18 December 2018, from £6.8

Comedy Genius at Showroom, Sheffield

Re: work at The Holden Gallery
Exhibitions 5 November–19 December 2018, FREE

Re: work at The Holden Gallery

RNCM Autumn Season Creative Tourist
Music 6 September–19 December 2018, from £5

RNCM Autumn Season

Cinema 7–20 December 2018, from £5.50

The Old Man & the Gun at HOME

Cinema 14–20 December 2018, from £5.5

The Last Movie at HOME