A monarch ordained by God to lead his people. But he is also a man of very human weakness. A man whose vanity threatens to divide the great houses of England and drag his people into a dynastic civil war that will last 100 years.
On a distant island a man waits. Robbed of his position, power and wealth, his enemies have left him in isolation. But this is no ordinary man, and this no ordinary island. Prospero is a ... See full summary »
Simon Russell Beale,
The series sees Paul Pennyfeather as an inoffensive divinity student at Oxford University in the 1920s, who is wrongly dismissed for indecent exposure having been made the victim of a prank by The Bollinger Club.
Various actors discuss Shakespeare plays. Each episode is presented by one actor and, in most cases, the actor discusses one play. However, some episodes cover more than one play. For ... See full summary »
Simon Russell Beale
From the Blackfriars' theatre in London, Andrew Marr presents a unique television premiere - a new production of John Webster's bloody revenge tragedy The Duchess of Malfi performed in a ... See full summary »
Helen McCrory (Medea and The Last of the Haussmans at the National Theatre, Penny Dreadful, Peaky Blinders) returns to the National Theatre in Terence Rattigan's devastating masterpiece, ... See full summary »
The former Weismann's Follies girls return to their old theatre one last time. At the core of the story are two married couples on the brink of collapse. As the night goes on, egos are unleashed, lies are exposed, and secrets are revealed.
Tim Van Someren
As Macbeth rides home from battle, three witches stop him. They tell him that he will soon rise in power, first becoming Thane of Cawdor and then King of Scotland. King Duncan has just ... See full summary »
From the stage of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, hosts David Tennant and Catherine Tate are joined by Benedict Cumberbatch, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Dame Helen Mirren, Meera Syal, David Suchet, Rufus Wainwright, Tim Minchin, Gregory Porter, Joseph Fiennes, English National Opera, The Royal Ballet and Akala for a very special evening. Together, they mark the life and work of William Shakespeare on the 400th anniversary of the playwright's death. This unique event takes place in the presence of Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, and celebrates Shakespeare's extraordinary legacy and his enduring influence on all performance art forms - from opera to jazz, dance to musicals.
This review is going to be very subjective, and in fact, if I can sum it up entirely, I'd say watch it by yourself and fast forward the bits you don't like. Because by catering for "everyone" it means there's bits you're not going to like.
One of the things that they tried to do with this "celebration" was to show the importance of Shakespeare by how it influenced other works. Personally, I think it failed. The very first thing we saw was a West Side Story song and dance number. I can see what they were going for I guess, but I think it lost the point. It was a celebration of Shakespeare, not Shakespeare's cover band. It'd be like going to see The Beatles and instead having some pub band playing songs that they wrote because they liked The Beatles. We wanted John Paul George and Ringo.
Well, in this case, we wanted Shakespeare. And that's the rub. Between the ballets and the operas and the songs (done with varying degrees of success) the overall runtime left, in my opinion, more filler and less Shakespeare. It left me wanting to see King Lear or Hamlet or heck, the Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged.
There were some great performances. Sir Ian McKellen was the stand out performance giving a powerful speech about immigrants. Sanjeev Bhaskar and Meera Syal (from Goodness Gracious Me) nailed Much Ado About Nothing in a fantastic comedic / tragic scene. And the stage actor, Paapa Essiedu, played an amazing Hamlet for the famous To Be or Not To Be.
It's essentially Shakespeare at the Proms. And there are good bits. You'll just need to either put up with, or fast forward, the boring bits.
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