Being Shakespeare at the Harold Pinter
Shakespeare with a difference. How could one possibly do Shakespeare with a difference? Many have done Shakespeare with a modern twist and often done so with so-called funny anecdotes and modernisation of his work, but this was a celebration of the life of the greatest writer to have ever lived.
A one-man show starring the delectable Simon Callow, who was faultless throughout, Being Shakespeare was done in seven ages – from the birth of William Shakespeare to his death. Callow was somewhat a narrator-cum-actor throughout this spectacle. A simple stage but not without the drama and power you expect from Shakespeare – flames and eerie forests – this play was simply about Shakespeare’s life and no play in particular. There could not have been a better choice of actor for this role; Callow was enthralling, enchanting and passionate. As he proudly took to the stage he took us through Shakespeare’s life, linking happenings and events to scenes of plays – one minute he was explaining Shakespeare’s life with wife Anne Hathaway and the next he was both Romeo and Juliet. One minute he was a young Shakespeare at school in Stratford-upon-Avon in a Latin class and the next he was Hamlet.
Writer Jonathan Bate has managed to produce a funny, witty, informed, clever and charming script – one to learn from and enjoy. The attention of the audience didn’t once waver. Shakespeare with a difference; the difference being this was a journey through his tragic yet intriguing life in Elizabethan England. A journey through his father’s hardships, the plague, wars, the death of a child and of course, his unforseen success and untimely death. When a show’s title has the name Shakespeare in it you assume those in the audience are fans of his works and the man himself, but many were also there to learn. This is one for everyone.
An ideal mix of fact and drama, Callow will leave you mesmerised and in awe of his performance and, of course, the play’s topic – William Shakespeare as a man and a writer.
Being Shakepeare is at the Harold Pinter Theatre until 15th March 2014, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch Simon Callow talk about Being Shakespeare here: