And then this happened…

Delighted to enter the strange, beautiful world of Shakespeare's Romances - a world where verse and prose are stylistically inconsistent (due in part to collaboration with other playwrights, but also to the poet's increasingly complex relationship to the formal constraints of iambic pentameter). A world where character development is non-existent and plots are driven not…

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Not one of us

The problem with Twelfth Night is that Malvolio never quite lives up to his name. With all his priggish narcissism he is never quite genuinely mean enough to give his humiliation true comic value. When he chides the midnight revelers to keep quiet and cease their drunken brawling he does have a point, after all.…

Philomel (with Melody)

After a depressingly inaccessible Romeo and Juliet, the Argo recording of Midsummer Night's dream opened up like box of riches. This is far and away my favorite recording of the play, and there are some strong contenders in the audio realm (as well as some fine films). RCA Victor (1954) The success of the RCA…

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…

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…