It’s a phase

What temporary, language-related issues was Shakespeare working through when he wrote Love's Labours Lost? Is this some final attempt to erase the stigma of a mere player daring to match wits with the university men? The taffeta phrases of the King of Navarre and his lovesick companions, the hyperverbal sallies of Don Adriano de Armado and…

Comedy of Errors

Reasons why I didn't want to like this recording. 1) The premise is profoundly, deeply idiotic. The intellect rebels at Shakespeare's decision to take Plautus' tale of twins separated at birth and...hey, it will be twice as funny if we add another set of twins separated at birth, right? Taking an ancient device and beating…

Star No Star

If ever there was a part that invited a "star" performance, it's Richard, Duke of Gloucester. It's gigantic (in Richard III alone, he has 1,171 lines in a play that's 3,609 lines long!), spread over three plays, and has multiple opportunities for an actor to indulge in thespian pyrotechnics - the wooing of Lady Anne, the…

Bunchback’d Toad

Antony Sher's Richard III was famously (and brilliantly) the "bottled spider" of Queen Margaret's curses, moving about the stage with arthropoid grace. Patrick Wymark's is her "bunchback'd toad", a croaking, earthy creature prone to sudden, calculated leaps. Angry at life, he needs the violence of war as an outlet for his rage, and the crown seems…