Posts Tagged ‘Edinburgh Festival’

Tony has sent in this interesting review of the Simon Callow play we mentioned a few weeks ago. The tour of the show is nearly finished for now but you can still catch him playing this weekend in Richmond, Surrey and in August during the Edinburgh Festival see http://manfromstratford.co.uk/.

It was interesting at the theatre in Malvern the other day, to note  the number of people from the Stratford district who had made the short journey to see Simon Callow’s one man show about our William. In fact, this event could be called a Complete works reunion, following Simon’s splendid portrayal of Falstaff in MERRY WIVES THE MUSICAL and the publication during that memorable year of the RSC’s edition of Shakespeare, the chief editor being Jonathan Bate who also wrote the script for this fantastic tour de force at Malvern and on tour.

Fantastic? Yes, because between them Messrs Bates and Callow have given us a marvellous panorama of not only Shakespeare’s life and times, and also suggestions as to how the latter  may have influenced scenes and characters from the plays. We are given the feeling as to what it may have been like to grow up as a child in Henley Street or Wilmcote, attend school in Stratford, see the travelling players come to the town, arrive in London from the provinces and be present at the first performance of HENRY V at The Globe.

Throughout, we are reminded of  the “Seven Ages of Man” speech from AS YOU LIKE IT ( I had great fun picking out all the plays from our current Ensemble’s repertoire) and are treated to excerpts both familiar and unfamiliar .

We are asked to consider Who Is Shakespeare? What is He? The reflection on these is richly rewarding and satisfying. Our author and actor also suggests what DID happen to Shakespeare during those infamous “lost years “.

The enthusiastic applause at the end showed that not only had we enjoyed a special theatrical experience but that we could return to Stratford rejoicing that we have the RSC -and the forthcoming opening of the new RST -to remind us of the glories of these immortal words and the characters who speak them.

Tony Boyd-Williams

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