The Frost/Nixon star appears in the lead role of the Shakespearean tragedy in a new production at London’s Young Vic theatre and the show was officially launched this week (begs07Nov11).
Stars including actress Kristen Scott Thomas, supermodel Lily Cole, Take That singer Jason Orange and Sheen’s girlfriend Rachel McAdams were in the audience for opening night, but 10 minutes after the curtain went up, the play was abandoned due to a lighting fault.
Producers ushered the audience into a theatre bar and offered them a drink of wine while the problem was fixed and the play eventually went ahead 45 minutes behind schedule.
A representative for the theatre says in a statement, “Michael was supposed to enter in a blackout. The lights didn’t go out because of the technical issues we had, so that’s why Michael didn’t go on. Second time around, the scene was performed exactly as it should be.”
However, the glitch didn’t affect critics’ reviews of Sheen’s performance, which was labelled “fascinating”, “intelligent” and “inventive” by The Guardian’s Michael Billington.
The Daily Telegraph’s Charles Spencer claims Sheen “could be right up there among the great Hamlets”, while Paul Taylor of The Independent writes, “Sheen has just the right electrically dangerous, mocking intelligence for the part. He swings from an initial edgy concessiveness at court to an extraordinary manic high.”
The celebrities in the audience were also impressed by Sheen’s performance, with Scott Thomas gushing, “I’m quite overwhelmed. I feel like I’ve been through the mill. It is a descent into madness which is your nightmare,” and pop star Orange adds, “It was brilliant.”