There was a time when I vaguely fancied Jude Law, particularly when he starred in The Talented Mr Ripley as the rich, cool and beautiful Dickie Greenleaf. But I would have had dinner with Philip Seymour Hoffman who played his ebullient friend. Hoffman is ugly and weird and interesting, a fabulous actor. I would watch a Kleenex ad if he was in it.
But I liked Jude’s name and named my son Jude too. Jude is now 8; Jude Law must be in his later thirties. We went to see him star as Hamlet at the Wyndhams Theatre. I had strangely booked the tickets a year and a half ago, before 2009 existed, before 2008 had arrived. I remember thinking I could be dead by June 2009, but I booked anyway because my husband had made me a friend of the Donmar Warehouse and they had alerted me to the news that Jude Law would be playing Hamlet several years down the line. I wanted to see the production because the Donmar Warehouse can’t seem to deliver anything mediocre.
The Wyndham Theatre was crowded, not one empty seat. Our drinks that we had pre-ordered were nowhere to be found at the interval bar. During the performance, I sat next to a scrawny man-boy and his teenage lover. She was pretty and blonde-pre-Raphaelite, and he was slight and cool. I imagined that my own 8 year old would have the same kind of style at his age. But I couldn’t get comfortable. I leant forward and collapsed on my arms over the circle wall in imitation of the blonde beauty and arched my back and sighed. After 3 + hours it was hard to concentrate too well. Three hours is just too long to be cramped and uncomfortable in a theatre seat and it was hot. My knees pressed into the wall in front of me and began to hurt.
There were things that were good about the production: It raced along, Jude was lively. He made me think of the best boy at drama school. The one who looked good, moved well, did the perfect interpretation of a crab and could pull of a sword fight. He played Hamlet as a deeply complex, difficult man, and we the audience sympathized. It was good to see and would have probably been brilliant from an armchair. But something about my modern sensibility made me want to edit the text. It needed to be cut down and that’s not entirely because I was cramped and tired. There I’ve said it now. Lovers of Shakespeare have me hanged.
This post was writte by Kate Morris, who lives in West London with two children, Jude 8 and Belle 5 and her husband, Luke, a photographer. She has published one novel and her second, The Seven Year Itch, is just out. She is currently just starting work on a third novel. Kate also blogs at the Easy Living and is know as "The City Wife".