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review 2019-02-17 23:32
Richard II / William Shakespeare
Richard II - William Shakespeare,Roma Gill

I am going to have to see a more traditional version of this play before I will be able to give a true opinion of it. I went to see the Almedia Theatre version at my local movie theatre and I didn’t care for this staging of the play.

The setting was extremely spare. There was only one room and all of the actors were on set all of the time. No furniture, only a series of buckets, which puzzled me a first. No real costumes, either. All the actors were dressed in T-shirts and jeans or sweatpants. When not involved in a scene, the actors would stand by the wall of the one-room set.

The reason for the lack of costume became apparent as the buckets were brought into action. Containing water, soil, and stage blood, they were slung around with abandon and everyone ended up covered in something. Why bother with elaborate costumes when you’re just going to roll everyone in the mud and blood?

But what capped things off for me was the man in the role of Richard II. He had a nervous tic which distracted me beyond my ability to ignore it. Even while delivering emotional speeches, he was rubbing or scratching his butt. What I noticed (early in the play) I just couldn’t un-see and it made it next to impossible for me to concentrate on the dialog and plot.

So, nothing to do with the play itself or with Shakespeare’s writing, but I’m going to have to see another production in order to have an unbiased opinion of Richard II.

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text 2019-02-14 16:57
Reading progress update: I've read 53 out of 259 pages.
The Essential Shakespeare - Ted Hughes The Essential Shakespeare - Ted Hughes

This Intro has now officially out-stayed its welcome - luckily only 7p to go.

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review 2019-02-10 11:29
Merlin's Shakespeare
Merlin's Shakespeare - Carol Anne Douglas

Merlin's Shakespeare sounded like something right up my alley. Unfortunately, I couldn't get into it. Beth as the main character is obsessed with Shakespeare's work and of lately also has some magical powers after a rather wonderful production of A Midsummer's Night Dream. She is then cornered by Merlin who asks her to travel back in order to track down a lost play.

Like I said, these are all things I like. I like time travel, I like Shakespeare, I really do, but I found Beth so annoying. Her obsession is unhealthy and it is weird it is supported by the adults. She acts like a small child, making it feel like it was written for a very young audience, although at the same time there is quite some death and cruelty along the way.

The whole reason for looking for the supposedly lost play was rather thin and the story jumped around a lot, focusing then on these and then on those characters. The characters from the plays were in my opinion the most interesting aspects of the story, only their dialogue was often very cranky (not like Shakespeare at all) and also the rules with which they lived and acted were unclear to me.

I wanted to like it, but it was not for me. For someone who doesn't know Shakespeare, it might be a nice introduction into the subject.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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text 2019-02-09 12:06
Reading progress update: I've read 30 out of 259 pages.
The Essential Shakespeare - Ted Hughes The Essential Shakespeare - Ted Hughes

If Shakespeare made up so many words, how did anybody understand them?

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text 2019-02-08 17:52
Reading progress update: I've read 24 out of 259 pages.
The Essential Shakespeare - Ted Hughes The Essential Shakespeare - Ted Hughes

Tackles head on the fact that the era required playwrights to cater to the widest possible audience, from illeterate, poor commoners to the highest nobility and royalty - suggests Shakespeare was more successful at this than any of his contemporaries. His "small Greek and less Latin" might have been advantageous in this respect.

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