Hamlet: Watch Benedict Cumberbatch wage war on camera phones in special message to fans

Flashes and red lights from the audience prove distracting to actors on stage

Jess Denham
Monday 10 August 2015 11:02 BST
Benedict Cumberbatch is already fed up of audience members filming his Hamlet at the Barbican
Benedict Cumberbatch is already fed up of audience members filming his Hamlet at the Barbican (PA)

Benedict Cumberbatch has called upon his army of fans to help put an end to the filming of theatre plays on camera phones.

The Sherlock actor made his debut as Hamlet at the Barbican last week but found the distraction of red lights in the audience so "mortifying" that he stepped outside the stage door after the show to ask the waiting throng for their help.

"I can see cameras in the auditorium. It may not be any of you here but it's blindingly obvious," he said. "It's mortifying and there's nothing that's less supportive or enjoyable as an actor on stage experiencing that.

"What I really want to do is try and enlist you. I don't use social media and I'd really appreciate it if you did tweet, blog, hashtag the s**t out of this one for me."

Clearly a matter close to his heart, Cumberbatch explained that he wants to give audiences a live performance that will be remembered in their "minds and brains whether it's good, bad or indifferent" instead of on their phones.

The Oscar nominee warned that those using filming equipment will soon be detected and evicted as the Barbican is installing "devices" in the auditorium.

"I don't want that to happen, that's a horrible way to have to police what's a wonderful thing" Cumberbatch continued. "This isn't me blaming you, this is just me asking you to ripple it out there in the brilliant beautiful way that you do with your funny electronic things. I'd really appreciate it."

Cumberbatch admitted that it had been "one hell of a week" after the much-hyped show was plagued by technical difficulties, including the curtains closing on him during the opening "To be or not to be" soliloquy last night.

Press night is not until later this month but initial reviews have been mixed, with some critics praising Cumberbatch's "Hamlet in a hoody" and others branding it "Shakespeare for kids".

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