William Shakespeare

David McInnis reviews 'The One King Lear' by Brian Vickers

David McInnis

Shakespeare's King Lear exists in two significantly different versions, the quarto (Q) published in 1608 and the folio (F) of 1623. Scholars typically believe that the play was ...

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Romeo and Juliet (Bell Shakespeare)

Andrew Fuhrmann

Everything, it seems, depends on Juliet: for nothing can be ill, if she be well cast. And if she not be well cast? The question is an idle one, because in Kelly Paterniti we have an excellent Juliet. She is vibrant and original. Whatever faults this new Bell Shakespeare production may have, in her the ... More

James McNamara reviews '1606' by James Shapiro

James McNamara

1606 was a rough year for England. In late 1605 the Gunpowder plotters nearly blew up the government; a Catholic rebellion in Warwickshire sharpened the country's fear. England's ports were closed and an army raised; bonfires lit the streets of London and guards manned the city gates. Later, the Tower drew its bridge and loaded cannons upon the (false) report of Kin ... More

Macbeth

Andrew Nette

It has been said we get the versions of Shakespeare that mirror our times. If so, it is chilling to speculate what Australian director Justin Kurzel’s take on Macbeth, the story of a loyal warrior who succumbs to the temptation to commit regicide, says about the current state of the world.

Macbeth, Shakespeare’s darkest and bloodiest tale, ... More

John Rickard reviews 'Why Acting Matters' by David Thomson and 'Great Shakespeare Actors' by Stanley Wells

John Rickard

Why Acting Matters has on its cover the face of an ape; well, actually it’s Andy Serkis playing Caesar, ‘the top ape’ in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014). The point of this rather unexpected image from a movie not discussed in the book is, the blurb tells us, that ‘acting is baked into our primate DNA’. These two books, however, by elder ... More

Ian Donaldson reviews 'Hamlet' (Bell Shakespeare)

Ian Donaldson

Hamlet belongs to the final years of Elizabeth’s reign, when the system of espionage the old queen had created through her spymaster-general, Francis Walsingham – the network of ‘watchers’, as Stephen Alford calls them in a recent brilliant study of this phenomenon – had become ... More

Ian Donaldson reviews 'Lost Plays in Shakespeare's England' edited by David McInnis and Matthew Steggle

Ian Donaldson

‘The art of losing isn’t hard to master,’ Elizabeth Bishop once famously wrote; ‘So many things seem filled with the intent / to be lost that their loss is no disaster.’ Much modern technology seems designed specifically to counter this natural human propensity towards loss. We have key rings that respond obediently to their owner’s whistle, immediately ... More

Ian Donaldson reviews 'Shakespeare Beyond Doubt'

Ian Donaldson

It was not until the middle years of the nineteenth century, so far as we can tell, that anyone seriously doubted that the man from Stratford-upon-Avon called William Shakespeare had written the plays that for the past two and a half centuries had passed without question under his name. In the early 1850s, however, a private scholar from Connecticut named Deli ... More

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