It’s not so uncommon to see ‘tour de force’ performances on screen because cinema and TV affords the actor the physical space and respite to tear the arse out of a performance. It’s a one off and retakes allow them to experiment and finesse the part and to build in nuances.
But of course the stage has many ‘tour de force’s’ to reference, Olivier springs to mind in the Shakespearian silo, but they are fewer in number and elitist in observation.
Nevertheless, in the digital cinema world, to that august canon must be added Maxine Peake’s Hamlet.
Let’s ignore the gender issue here. It’s a red herring. The fact is that Peake is, by anyone’s measure, slight.
And yet the sheer energy she exudes performance after performance is ant like in its ability to punch above its physical weight.
Her skill is to mesmerisingly tic and twitch her way through a descent into moral madness. It’s very compelling indeed.
And yet her slightness brings with it a vulnerability that really draws you in. Captured on the big screen it only serves to emphasise the greatness of this performance at the Royal Exchange Theatre during last year’s Manchester International Festival.
If you get a chance to see one of these ‘live’ theatre screening jump at the opportunity. You will thank me.